Bladder Cancer Prevention

December 13, 2016

How to prevent bladder cancer

Surely, somewhere along the way, you’ve heard the saying you are what you eat. While you won’t exactly wake up one morning resembling the mini tacos you inhaled the night before, the saying holds its fair share of weight. An essential component for healthy living is healthy eating, but there’s good news and bad news to that end.

Consider bladder cancer, for example. On one hand, there isn’t exactly an overwhelming collection of research out there that promotes specific foods or supplements to help prevent bladder cancer. However, on the other hand, it’s one of those instances in which a healthier bladder is a happier bladder. What’s better than bladder cancer treatment? Well, taking the precautionary steps for potential bladder cancer prevention.

With that in mind, we’re here to provide the same invaluable advice you’ve probably received time and time again: Eat healthily.

How to eat healthily

  • Learn to love fruits and veggies — I mean love. The more organic fruits and vegetables you can get into your diet the better! This doesn’t mean juices or smoothies. This means chewing those vegetables.
  • Eat lean proteins and avoid too much red meat or processed meat. Ditching the ribeyes and brisket is tough. But a healthy diet means learning to enjoy eating those leaner proteins like chicken, turkey, bison, seafood, eggs, and beans.
  • Limit dairy. There is a lot of back and forth about dairy these days. Everything in moderation seems to be the key point that most researchers agree on. Look for low-fat dairy options like Greek yogurt, mozzarella cheese, goat cheese and alternatives to cow’s milk.
  • Say goodbye to processed foods. They say if you can shop the grocery store perimeter you’ve pretty much avoided the processed foods. That means organic fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and eggs. Anything packaged, in a can or that’s microwaveable is probably worth steering away from.
  • Say hello to fats. Get in a small amount of HEALTHY unsaturated fats: avocado, almonds, seeds, olive oil, and salmon are some good places to start.
  • Get hydrated. Water. Become best friends with water. Shoot for 2.5 liters a DAY! How many glasses are in 2.5 liters? That’s 64 ounces. That’s eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. And if you live in a hot climate or are an exercise guru, you will need to up that amount.  If you are thirsty, you aren’t hydrated. If your urine isn’t clear to light yellow, you aren’t hydrated. Staying well hydrated will benefit your skin, bladder, and overall health.

Here are a few tips to make water your best friend:

  • Add fresh lemon, lime or cucumber to your water to give it a taste!
  • Carbonated water is still water! Add in a few sparkling water options.
  • Try not to gulp it all in at once.
  • Drink throughout the day in small sips.
  • Try to limit your water intake 2-3 hours before bedtime so you get to sleep!
  • There are a ton of great portable, dishwasher safe, containers out there that can help you keep track of how much water you are actually drinking in a day. Make it a game!
  • There are also a ton of free “apps” for your phone that you can set reminding you to drink water.

Avoiding temptation

  • Go easy on the alcohol. Any type of alcohol is a bladder irritant and that makes your bladder unhappy. You can still go out and cheers with friends, just use moderation as your focus.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking is one of the leading risk factors for bladder cancer. Does that include everything that you can smoke? Research points mainly to tobacco smoking, but inhaling anything that’s an irritant isn’t healthy.
  • Break up with sugar. Sugar isn’t your friend. Sugar is sneaky and manipulative. It’s in everything! And it tastes so good. Limit or cut out those sugary treats and your body with thank you.
  • Get smart about gluten. There’s no research that points to gluten as a risk factor for bladder cancer. But gluten has been associated with inflammatory responses specific to other medical issues. Moderation is key, so limit your munching on white bread, white rice, and crackers.

At the end of the day, studies that investigated the association between dietary factors and bladder risk have largely reported inconsistent results. There is no strong evidence to suggest that a specific diet or supplementations is effective in reducing bladder cancer risk, but this research is limited. We are learning more and more about how diet may affect different disease states and how its impact could be felt throughout the different stages of bladder cancer, so maintaining healthy weight, eating well, drinking water, limiting the vices and taking on a little bit of exercise may very well be what the doctor ordered to avoid bladder tumor symptoms and ultimately, the need for outright bladder cancer treatment.

If a revamped diet doesn’t do the trick and you begin or continue to experience symptoms of bladder cancer, why waste another moment? If you have any questions, such as how is bladder cancer diagnosed to is bladder cancer painful, or even something as simple as further dietary guidance, contact the Austin Urology Institute’s own Dr. Shaw, whose expertise is utilized at the top bladder cancer hospitals in Austin.