Bladder cancer

Incidence in Minnesota:

Bladder cancer is the 5th most common type of cancer diagnosed in Minnesota males, but not in the top 10 types of cancer diagnosed in Minnesota females. From 2016 to 2018, an average of 1097 new cases of bladder cancer in males and 326 new cases in females were diagnosed in Minnesota residents each year.

Bladder cancer cases in Minnesota

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 until 2008. Since 2009, there has been a 1.1% decrease in rates. The rate of bladder cancer is over three times higher in males than in females. Most recently, the age-adjusted incidence rate of bladder cancer was 35.0 new cases per 100,000 males and 9.0 new cases per 100,000 females.

Bladder cancer cases in Minnesota, by age

Rate of new bladder cancer cases, aggregated from 2009 to 2018.
Rate of new bladder cancer cases, aggregated from 2009 to 2018.

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. Bladder cancer will grow into the bladder wall and spread to other organs if not found and successfully treated.

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. It is 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 if moderate or low levels of inorganic arsenic increase risk.
  • Chronic bladder problems such as bladder stones and infections may increase the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Bladder birth defects such as exstrophy, in which both the bladder and the abdominal wall in front of the bladder are fused together, greatly increase a person’s risk of bladder cancer.
  • Certain genetic syndromes and a family history of bladder cancer increase the risk for bladder cancer. People who have family members with bladder cancer may have been exposed to the same cancer-causing chemicals such as those found in tobacco smoke or they may share changes in some genes that make it hard for their bodies to break down certain toxins. A small number of people inherit genetic syndromes associated with developing bladder cancer.
  • Chemotherapy or radiation therapy such as the drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and treatment with radiation to the pelvis increase the risk of bladder cancer. 

How can bladder cancer be prevented?

The risk for bladder cancer can be reduced by avoiding tobacco smoke and not smoking. People working in industries with carcinogenic chemicals should follow workplace health and safety rules.


Last updated May 2021. Updates are made when data become available.