Bladder Cancer Risk Higher for Painters

A new study has found that painters face a significantly higher risk of <"">bladder cancer than the general population. The study is published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Bladder cancer is the 9th most common cancer worldwide, with more than 330,000 new cases diagnosed every year and an annual death toll of 130,000, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). A key risk factor for the disease is smoking, but higher numbers than expected of bladder cancer have also been reported for certain types of employment.

The authors of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine study based their findings on almost 3,000 cases of bladder cancer arising in professional painters, reported in 41 separate studies. Other related occupations, such as plasterers, glaziers, wallpaper hangers, artists and decorators were classified as “painters” in some studies. The authors included studies which assessed whether participants were smokers, in a bid to unpick the impact of painters’ occupational exposures on bladder cancer risk.

They found that after taking account of smoking, painters were still 30 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer than the general population. This heightened risk persisted when other risk factors were accounted for as well, suggesting that painting is an independent risk factor for the disease. Also, there was some evidence that female painters were more likely than their male counterparts to develop bladder cancer, but only four studies presented results separately for women.

The study also found a correlation between bladder cancer risk and the length of time an individual was employed as a painter. Those who had been so employed for more than 10 years were more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who had been in this kind of employment for less than 10 years.

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