Bladder cancer: facts & figures

Incidence in Minnesota:

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer diagnosed in Minnesota males, but not in the top 10 types of cancer diagnosed in Minnesota females. From 2011 to 2013, an average of 1001 new cases of bladder cancer in males and 311 new cases in females were diagnosed in Minnesota residents each year.

Bladder cancer cases in Minnesota, by year
Age-adjusted rate of new bladder cancer cases.
Age-adjusted rate of new bladder cancer cases.

The incidence rates for females have been relatively stable since 1988. The rate among males increased by less than 1% per year since 1988. The rate of bladder cancer is much higher in males, over three times higher than in females. Most recently, the age-adjusted incidence rate of bladder cancer was 33.6 new cases per 100,000 males and 8.8 new cases per 100,000 females.

Bladder cancer cases in Minnesota, by age
Rate of new bladder cancer cases, aggregated from 2004 to 2013.
Rate of new bladder cancer cases, aggregated from 2004 to 2013.

Bladder cancer incidence increases significantly with age; the highest incidence rates occur among adults aged 80 years or older.


What is bladder cancer?

The bladder is a hollow organ or sac that stores urine. Bladder cancer usually begins in the cells that line the inside wall of the bladder. As the cancer grows, it will often grow into the wall and, if not found and successfully treated, spread to other organs.

What are the risk factors for bladder cancer?

  • Smoking is the most important known risk factor for bladder cancer. Smoking accounts for an estimated 50% of bladder cancer in males and 25% in females. Smoking can cause harmful chemicals to accumulate in the urine as the body processes the chemicals found in the smoke. Some of these harmful chemicals are excreted in urine, damaging the lining of the bladder and increasing the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Workplace exposure to specific industrial chemicals is an established risk factor bladder cancer. Workers in the dye, rubber, textile, leather, trucking and chemical industries have a higher risk compared to the general population.
  • Inorganic arsenic is one form of arsenic, a naturally occurring substance. Exposure can occur through drinking water, food, soil, or air. Though uncommon in the United States, exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic over a long period of time increases bladder cancer risk. Researchers have not yet identified, however, if moderate or low levels of inorganic arsenic increase risk.

How can bladder cancer be prevented?

Individuals can reduce their risk for bladder cancer by avoiding tobacco smoke and not smoking. For people working in industries with carcinogenic chemicals, learn and follow workplace health and safety rules.