You know that cigarettes cause lung cancer. But smoking and bladder cancer? Never heard of that before? Apparently, a majority of cigarette smokers are ignorant that their deadly habit heightens their risk of developing bladder cancer also, says a new study.
Researchers from University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center suggest that urologists and other physicians need to do a much better job of telling patients about the risk of smoking and encourage them to quit.
"The general public understands that cigarette smoking can lead to lung cancer, but very few people understand that it also can lead to bladder cancer," said senior author Dr James E. Montie, Valassis Professor of Urologic Oncology at the U-M Health System.
Montie said that in the first four years after a smoker quits, the risk of developing bladder cancer decreases by 40 percent
A study had shown that only 22 percent of patients with the disease were aware that smoking was a risk factor.
"A big gap exists between patient knowledge and their actual risk," says lead author Seth A. Strope, M.D., MPH, clinical lecturer in the U-M Department of Urology.
"Our study suggests that physicians must do a much better job of communicating the risk to our patients, and directing them toward smoking cessation programs," he added.
The study appears in the July issue of The Journal of Urology.