Are you a professional painter who has been diagnosed with bladder cancer? If so, exposure to chemicals in paint may be to blame for your symptoms. If you have worked in an occupation where you were frequently exposed to paint fumes, such as plasterer, glazier, wallpaper hanger, artist or decorator, you may also face a higher bladder cancer risk.
Our bladder cancer lawyers are investigating the link between bladder cancer and exposure to paint fumes, and we are offering free lawsuit evaluations to any professional painters or other individuals who experienced repeated exposure to paint fumes and have developed bladder cancer. If you or a loved one fit such a profile, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. We urge you to contact one of our bladder cancer lawyers today to protect your legal rights.
Most common symptoms
The most common symptoms of bladder cancer include:
- Blood or blood clots in the urine (hematuria). Hematuria occurs in 80% to 90% of people who have bladder cancer and is the most common symptom. Usually it is not painful.
- Pain during urination (dysuria).
- Urinating small amounts frequently.
- Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Symptoms that may indicate more advanced bladder cancer include:
- Pain in the lower back around the kidneys (flank pain).
- Swelling in the lower legs.
- A growth in the pelvis near the bladder (pelvic mass).
Other symptoms that may develop when bladder cancer has spread include:
- Weight loss.
- Bone pain or pain in the rectal, anal, or pelvic area.
Professional Painters and Bladder Cancer
Painters are commonly exposed to solvents, the main ones being petroleum solvents, toluene, xylene, ketones, alcohols, esters and glycol ethers. Chlorinated hydrocarbons are used in paint strippers and less frequently in paint formulations. Benzene was used as a paint solvent in the past but is currently found in only small amounts in some petroleum solvent-based paints. Titanium dioxide and chromium and iron compounds are used widely as paint pigments, while lead was used commonly in the past. Asbestos has been used as a paint filler and may occur in spackling and taping compounds; painters in the construction industry and shipyards may also be exposed to asbestos. Exposure to silica may occur during the preparation of surfaces in construction and metal painting.
A 2010 study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that professional painters and others regularly exposed to paint fumes faced a higher risk of bladder cancer than those in the general population. A key risk factor for the disease is smoking, but higher numbers than expected of bladder cancer have also been reported for certain types of employment, including painting. Painters are exposed to some of the same chemicals that are found in cigarette smoke, including aromatic amines.
Researchers analyzed nearly 3,000 cases of bladder cancer in professional painters that were reported in 41 previous studies. Some of those studies also classified plasterers, glaziers, wallpaper hangers, artists and decorators as painters. After taking into account smoking, the review authors concluded that painters were 30 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer than the general population. This heightened risk persisted when other risk factors were accounted for as well, suggesting that painting is an independent risk factor for the disease.
The authors concluded that there is now sufficient evidence that painters are at increased risk for bladder cancer. “Because several million people are employed as painters worldwide, even a modest increase in the relative risk is remarkable,” the researchers wrote in their report.
There was some evidence that female painters were more likely than their male counterparts to develop bladder cancer, but only four studies presented results separately for women. The study also found a correlation between bladder cancer risk and the length of time an individual was employed as a painter. Those who had been so employed for more than 10 years were more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who had been in this kind of employment for less than 10 years.
The authors were not able to pinpoint which agents are implicated in this heightened risk. The picture complicated by the variability of the work involved, differing levels of exposure, and the fact that paint composition has changed over time.
Bladder cancer is the 9th most common cancer worldwide, with more than 330,000 new cases diagnosed every year and an annual death toll of 130,000, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The cause of bladder cancer is not known, but it is more likely to develop in smokers than in nonsmokers.
This is a cancer of older people. Nearly 90 percent of people with this cancer are over the age of 55. Men are nearly 3 times more likely to get bladder cancer during their lifetime than women. The chance of a man developing this cancer at any time during his life is about 1 in 26 and for a woman, 1 in 84. It is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in men.