Preventing bladder cancer 

It's not always possible to prevent bladder cancer, but some risk factors have been identified, which may increase your risk of developing the condition.

Stopping smoking

If you smoke, giving up is the best way to reduce your risk of developing bladder cancer and preventing it from recurring.

If you decide to stop smoking, your GP will be able to refer you to the NHS Stop Smoking Service, which provides dedicated help and advice about the best ways to give up smoking.

You can also call the NHS Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044 (England only). The specially trained helpline staff will offer you free expert advice and encouragement.

If you're committed to giving up smoking, but don't want to be referred to a stop smoking service, your GP should be able to prescribe medical treatment to help with any withdrawal symptoms you may experience after giving up.

For more information and advice about giving up smoking, have a browse through stop smoking treatments and the stop smoking home page.

Workplace safety

Your risk of bladder cancer could be increased if your job involves exposure to certain chemicals. Occupations linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer are manufacturing jobs involving:

  • rubber
  • dyes
  • textiles
  • plastic
  • leather tanning
  • diesel fumes

Nowadays, there are rigorous safety protocols in place designed to minimise your risk of exposure, and chemicals known to increase the risk of bladder cancer have been banned. If you're uncertain about what these protocols involve, talk to your line manager or health and safety representative.

If you're concerned that your employer may be disregarding recommendations about workplace safety, you should contact the Health and Safety Executive for advice.


There's some evidence to suggest that a diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in fat can help to prevent bladder cancer.

Even though this evidence is limited, it's a good idea to follow this type of healthy diet, as it can help to prevent other types of cancer, such as bowel cancer, as well as serious health conditions, including high blood pressure (hypertension), stroke and heart disease.

A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (five portions a day) and whole grains. Limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than 6g (0.2oz) a day (one teaspoon) because too much can increase your blood pressure.

You should try to avoid foods that contain saturated fat, as it can increase your cholesterol levels.

Foods high in saturated fat include:

  • meat pies
  • sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • butter
  • ghee (a type of butter often used in Indian cooking)
  • lard
  • cream
  • hard cheese
  • cakes and biscuits
  • foods that contain coconut or palm oil

However, a balanced diet should include a small amount of unsaturated fat, because this will actually help to control your cholesterol levels.

Foods high in unsaturated fat include:

  • oily fish
  • avocados
  • nuts and seeds
  • sunflower, rapeseed, olive and vegetable oils

Read more about healthy eating and facts about fat.

Page last reviewed: 11/05/2015

Next review due: 11/05/2017