Short Answer: Possibly, but the connection is still unclear. 

Health research has shown that asbestos can be a risk factor for digestive diseases like stomach and colorectal cancer. The data is not as conclusive for prostate cancer. 

However, the issue has not been studied as extensively as the health effects of asbestos exposure on respiratory illness, so scientists are still researching whether asbestos can specifically cause bladder cancer.

Asbestos Fibers May Cause Cancer in the Digestive System

There is Ongoing Health Research into Whether Asbestos Exposure Can Lead to Bladder Cancer Specifically

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen that can cause a variety of serious illnesses, up to and including different types of cancer. While asbestos exposure is most often associated with mesothelioma, scientists have also linked it other cancers, including cancer of the lungs, ovaries, and esophagus. However, researchers are still struggling to understand the extent of asbestos’s dangers. A small body of academic works suggests that asbestos exposure could cause or contribute to urinary bladder cancer.

The Medical Dangers of Asbestos 

Asbestos is an industry term, not a scientific one. Industry uses the word ‘asbestos’ in referring to six different types of naturally occurring minerals which have similar qualities useful to manufacturing and construction. Namely, all types of asbestos are are incredibly strong, resilient, and heat-resistant, they do not conduct electricity, and also have varying resistance to corrosion and rust. In fact the remarkable qualities of asbestos minerals led to its being called the “miracle mineral.” 

But unfortunately, the durability of asbestos makes it extremely dangerous when inhaled or swallowed. Specifically, asbestos is made of tiny fibers, and when it crumbles or goes airborne, it is easily inhaled. Over time, asbestos fibers build up inside the lungs or digestive system, causing an aggressive immune response. Unfortunately, the body cannot easily eradicate asbestos; the fibers can cause scarring, inflammation, and cancerous growths

Asbestos Exposure Can Cause a Variety of Illnesses, Including Cancer

Asbestos is responsible for a range of medical disorders and diseases, including but not limited to: 

  • Pleural plaques
  • Pleural effusions
  • Asbestosis 
  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer 
  • Ovarian cancer 
  • Laryngeal cancer 

Emerging evidence suggests that asbestos exposure could also cause or contribute to urinary bladder cancer. 

Asbestos Exposure and Urinary Bladder Cancer

Asbestos exposure has been positively correlated to genital cancers, including prostate cancer

However, scientists have undertaken only limited research on the associations between asbestos exposure and bladder cancer. Only a scarce handful of studies, most published between the 1980s and 1990s, have investigated the possibility of any causative effect. Of these studies, few identified either occupational or environmental asbestos exposure as a plausible risk factor for bladder cancer. 

Ongoing Research Into the Connection Between Asbestos Exposure and Bladder Cancer

Nevertheless, there is some compelling evidence linking asbestos exposure and bladder cancer. In the January 1996 edition of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Kannio et al determined that

  • Asbestos exposure could be an independent risk factor for bladder cancer, with analyses indicating that persons with a “definite” history of asbestos exposure have an almost 3-fold increase in risk for bladder cancer compared to persons with no known history of asbestos exposure. 
  • Asbestos exposure could increase the probability of developing bladder cancer in persons with other risk factors, including cigarette smoking and other tobacco use.

So, while asbestos exposure is not a recognized risk factor for bladder cancer, there is some evidence that asbestos exposure could—at the very least—magnify an individual’s lifetime risk for bladder cancer. 

The Symptoms of Bladder Cancer 

Most asbestos-related illnesses have long latency periods, meaning they can take years and even decades to begin presenting noticeable medical symptoms. Mesothelioma, for instance, is not usually diagnosed in people under the age of 72.

Bladder cancer, in contrast, has noticeable—and often painful—symptoms, many of which may be apparent when the tumor is first starting to grow. Consequently, bladder cancer is usually identified in its early stages. 

What To Look For If You’re Concerned About Bladder Cancer

The symptoms of bladder cancer include but are not limited to: 

  • Blood or blood clots in the urine, which may cause the urine to appear bright red or “Coca-Cola colored.” However, blood in the urine is not always visible and may, in some cases, only be detected by laboratory testing. 
  • Frequent urination. 
  • Painful urination. 
  • Feeling the need to urinate, but being unable to pass urine
  • Lower back pain, especially on one side of the body. 

Bladder cancer is usually detected when a patient informs their doctor that they have noticed blood in their urine. 

Bladder Cancer Treatment Types

Bladder cancer is treated similar to other types of cancer, with treatment options including: 

  • Surgery, during which a doctor could remove a cancerous growth and surrounding tissue.
  • Chemotherapy, which may specifically target the bladder or seek to treat the entire body if there is reason to believe the cancer has spread or could spread. 
  • Radiotherapy, which is often used as a primary treatment option and can destroy cancer cells with high-powered X-ray beams. 
  • Immunotherapy, which sends special signals to the immune system to begin attacking cancer-causing cells and cancerous masses. 

People who are diagnosed with bladder cancer often receive combination treatments to minimize the spread of the cancer and to reduce the chances of its reemergence. 

People who have a history of asbestos exposure may experience other, more general symptoms

Asbestos Illness Symptoms Affecting Other Parts of the Body: 

  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Hoarse throat 
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Clubbed fingers or toes 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling

Asbestos Illness Symptoms Affecting the Lungs: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough
  • Wheezing 
  • Chest pain
  • General respiratory distress and discomfort 
  • Pleural plaques
  • Pleural effusions, or “water in the lungs” 
  • Scarring of the lungs
  • Inflammation of the lungs 
  • Asbestosis

These symptoms could indicate the presence of other asbestos-related illnesses. 

The United States government and courts recognize that the asbestos industry’s negligence hurt millions of hard working Americans. People who have a history of workplace or environmental asbestos exposure could receive recompense for their injuries and losses through: 

  • An insurance settlement 
  • An asbestos injury fund 
  • A personal injury lawsuit 

The federal courts and most states do not limit the amount of compensation you could receive from an asbestos claim. If you believe that your bladder cancer may have been caused by asbestos exposure, you could be entitled to significant legal relief for: 

  • Your past, present, and future medical expenses 
  • Experimental medical treatments 
  • Co-pays and out-of-pocket medical costs
  • Physical rehabilitation 
  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning potential 
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Disability 

However, you can only recover damages if you have compelling evidence to suggest that your bladder cancer was caused by asbestos. 

The lack of scientific research linking asbestos exposure to bladder cancer means that it could be difficult to convince an insurance company, a judge, or a jury that the asbestos industry is responsible for your injuries. 

You might need an attorney’s help to build a compelling case. Even if we cannot prove that your bladder cancer was caused by asbestos exposure, we could still help you pursue damages for your other asbestos-related injuries. 


If you may have been exposed to asbestos, speak with your healthcare provider about tests and screening to help detect the presence of asbestos fibers and asbestos-related damage.

AsbestosClaims.Law is your comprehensive resource for all things asbestos. We hope this information is helpful.

If you have any additional questions or concerns related to asbestos, check out our website and Youtube page for videos, infographics and answers to your questions about asbestos, including health and safety, asbestos testing, removing asbestos from your home and building, and legal information about compensation for asbestos injuries.

And if you believe that you were exposed to asbestos, or have been diagnosed with an asbestos illness, you could be entitled to significant compensation—money you could use to cover the costs of asbestos removal services, pay for medical treatment, and preemptively protect your physical well-being. 

All without filing a lawsuit.

If you’d like help with filing a claim, please get in touch by email at [email protected], or call or text us at (206) 455-9190. We’ll listen to your story and explain your options. And we never charge for anything unless you receive money in your pocket.