Although the exact cause of bladder cancer is not fully understood, the presence of certain factors increases the likelihood of bladder cancer, these include chronic bladder inflammation, chemical exposure and smoking, eating cured and smoked meats containing nitrates or consuming saccharin and caffeine. Chemotherapy, the use of the herb aristolochia fangchi and some familial or genetic disorders can also predispose an individual to bladder cancer, as noted by WebMD.
Specialized transitional cells in the lining of the bladder are often the cause for the beginning of bladder cancer. From these cells, bladder cancer is able to penetrate bladder muscle before invading tissue and fat, according to WebMD. If bladder cancer is not caught in time, it can spread to the lymph system, bones, lungs and liver.
Early detection is key to successful bladder treatment. Early diagnosis is helped along by advances in early detection and new treatment methods, including urine cytology. In 2013, 72,570 people were expected to be diagnosed with bladder cancer, which accounts for about 5 percent of all cancer in the United States. Of that number, around 15,200 were expected to die from this type of cancer. Men are up to three times more likely to get bladder cancer than women, and whites are more prone to the disease than other races.