Bladder Cancer Risk More in Female Smokers with Earlier Menopause, finds Study

Women who entered menopause before 45 years of age had 45% higher risk of bladder cancer. The percentage is even worse in those who smoke.

A new study highlights a significant risk of bladder cancer in menopausal women below the age of 45, especially in those who smoke. A comparison was made between women who entered menopause after 50 and those who had menopause before 45. The study finds that the possibility of having bladder cancer was more in women who entered menopause before turning 45. The authors of the study say these women were 45% more likely to suffer from bladder cancer compared to those who had menopause later. The findings in the study also reveal that smoking increased the bladder cancer risk in these women by a dangerous 53% in comparison to the other group.

Researchers will present their study in Barcelona, Spain at the European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress. “We found that smoking women who entered menopause before turning 45 had a higher bladder cancer risk. The most important risk factor that remains for bladder cancer is smoking,” said University of Vienna’s Dr. Mohammad Abufaraj, a lead researcher.

Data also reveals it is unlikely that female factors are associated with bladder cancer risk

“Our data also showed that it’s unlikely that the use of hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptive use, number of pregnancies, age when periods begin, and other female factors are associated with the risk of bladder cancer. Smoking is linked to earlier age at menopause, thereby increasing further the risk of the development of bladder cancer,” added Abufaraj.

There is substantial country to country variation in the number of bladder cancer patients deceased and the number of cases. Generally speaking, close to three times more men have bladder cancer compared to women. However, women show an estimated 40% greater mortality rate. These differences can be explained through hormonal, genetic/epigenetic, diagnosis, and many other factors.

“For the increased incidence of bladder cancer, smoking clearly sticks out as the underlying reason in this long-term study. But, we need to be open to hormonal changes leading to an earlier menopause and other factors that cause bladder cancer. This study indicates that these changes may themselves result from long-term exposure to nicotine,” said EAU Scientific Congress Committee Chairman, Professor Arnulf Stenzl.