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Cigarette labels may educate about bladder cancer

Cigarette labels may educate about bladder cancer

Graphic warning labels on packs of cigarettes may convince some people that smoking ups the risk of bladder cancer, says a new study from Canada.

A survey of 291 people at doctors’ offices in Toronto found less than half knew that smoking cigarettes is tied to an increased risk of bladder cancer, but three quarters said a graphic warning label would help raise awareness.

“Clearly patients do understand the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but we found in this little survey that only about 45 percent knew there was any risk of cigarette smoking associated with bladder cancer,” said Dr. Robert Stewart, the study’s senior author from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers in U.S. men. The American Cancer Society estimates that 72,570 Americans will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2013 and 15,210 will die from it.

The researchers say that past research had suggested between 30 percent and 50 percent of all bladder cancers are caused by cigarette smoking.

In Canada, cigarette and little cigar manufacturers have to cover 75 percent of their product’s packages with warnings that include graphic images of people with various cancers and conditions linked to smoking.

For the new study, published in The Journal of Urology, the researchers surveyed patients at a urology office and a family practice at St. Michael’s Hospital between January and February 2011. Of 300 people who were given a survey, 291 returned them. About half were current or former smokers.

Overall, less than half knew a person’s risk of bladder cancer was linked to smoking, compared to 98 percent who knew of a link between smoking and lung cancer.

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