Arsenic in Drinking Water Linked to Bladder Cancer Risks

Consuming those eight glasses of water a day that so many healthcare providers recommend is good for the body. Or is it?

When the water in question has arsenic contamination issues the answer is no, according to a recently released study. It seems low to moderate arsenic levels in drinking water can greatly enhance a person’s risks for developing bladder cancer down the road.

Researchers recently dove into a study to learn more about why people in northern New England seemed to have an elevated risk for bladder cancer. Their research led them on a path that ultimately implicated the drinking water. The incidence rates of bladder cancer in that particular region are about 20 percent higher than the rest of the country; a fact that raises alarm bells. What researchers found was that elevated levels of arsenic in private wells that are quite common in the area is likely the root cause of the higher incidence rate. Shallow wells and those dug prior to 1960 tended to be a bigger problem than deeper drilled, newer wells. High consumption of water was also pinpointed as an issue that raised the risk two-fold.

Bladder cancer strikes an estimated 76,000 Americans each year. About 16,000 people die from the disease annually. This form of cancer does have a relatively high survival rate due to early onset symptoms that can lead to more effective interventions. Symptoms include blood in the urine, painful urination and weak urine flow.
People who drink well water may want to have their arsenic levels checked by a reputable laboratory. Newer, deeper wells are less likely to suffer from contamination issues, the researchers noted. For those concerned about personal risks for bladder cancer, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider for case-specific advice. People who present with the symptoms of bladder cancer should also seek out medical advice. The symptoms may also indicate a variety of other conditions, including common, easy-to-treat urinary tract infections.

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