Bladder cancer

Our analysis of worldwide research on bladder cancer

As part of the Continuous Update Project (CUP) – our ongoing programme to analyse global research on how diet, weight, physical activity and nutrition affect cancer risk and survival – we have analysed worldwide research to produce our report on bladder cancer.

Published in December 2015, the report is the most rigorous, systematic, global analysis of the scientific research currently available on diet, weight, physical activity and bladder cancer, and which of these factors increase or decrease the risk of developing the disease.

For the report, the global scientific research on diet, nutrition, physical activity and bladder cancer was gathered and analysed by a research team at Imperial College London, and then independently assessed by a panel of leading international scientists.

The total number of adults in the 45 studies from around the world reviewed for the report was around 7 million; and the total number of bladder cancer cases in the studies analysed for the report was almost 37,000.

The report updates the bladder cancer section (Chapter 7.16 Bladder, page 312) of our 2007 Second Expert Report.

Key Findings

Strong evidence

  • There is strong evidence that drinking water containing arsenic increases the risk of bladder cancer. The evidence on this link is now stronger than in the worldwide evidence we reviewed for our 2007 Second Expert Report.

CUP Bladder cancer matrix - strong evidence


Our Cancer Prevention Recommendations - for preventing cancer in general - include eating a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

A more detailed overview of the findings is provided in the Executive Summary of the report.

Read the blog on arsenic and bladder cancer.

Published findings in peer-reviewed journals

Selected findings from the bladder cancer CUP update have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Details of the papers and links to the abstract in PubMed are below:

Fruits, vegetables, and bladder cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Vieira AR, Vingeliene S, Chan DS, Aune D, Abar L, Navarro Rosenblatt D, Greenwood DC, Norat T. Cancer Med. 2015; 4(1): 136-46. Abstract