Alcohol and Bladder Cancer: Important Medical Information for Health and Long Life

Are drinking alcohol and bladder cancer risk connected?


I.   Alcohol Not a Risk

II.  Research Evidence

III. Symptoms

IV.  Alcohol May Reduce Risk

V.   Resources

I. Alcohol Not a Risk Factor

The consensus of scientific medical opinion is that alcohol does not increase the risk for bladder cancer. To the contrary, it appears that drinking alcohol may reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Major medical groups have examined all researrch evidence about alcohol and cancer. They conclude that drinking does not increase the risk of developing the disease. The organizations include these.

    • National Cancer Institute1
    • American Cancer Society2
    • Cancer Research UK4
    • American Society of Clinical Oncology3
    • Mayo Clinic5
    • Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center6
    • and other organizations7

II. Research Evidence

The research evidence is extensive. It incluses these.

alcohol and bladder cancerA study of over 120,000 subjects in the Netherlands. It found no relationship between drinking and bladder cancer.8

Analysis of high alcohol intake northern Italians. It found no association, even at high levels of consumption.9

Researchers made a very large study in Massachusetts. They found no association, except that beer significantly reduced bladder cancer risk.”10

Doctors did a population-based case-control study in Los Angeles County. They found that “alcohol consumption was strongly associated with reduced risk of bladder cancer.” For example, those who consumed more than four drinks per day had a 32% reduced risk of bladder cancer. That’s in comparison to those who did not drink alcoholic beverages.11

It appears that drinking alcohol may reduce the risk of bladder cancer. However, more research is necessary to be certain.

III. Symptoms

Symptoms of bladder cancer can include these.

    • Blood in urine (pee).
    • Frequent urination.
    • Urinary tract infection.
    • Abdominal pain.
    • Back pain.12

Having any of these symptoms does not mean that a person has bladder cancer. But a person with any of these problems should see a doctor.

IV. Alcohol May Reduce Risk

Drinking alcohol is not a risk factor for forming bladder cancer. But it may reduce the risk. In any case, moderate drinking is clearly linked with better health and longer life. That’s in comparison to either abstaining from alcohol or heavy drinking.

A federal agency(NIAAA) has defined  moderate drinking. It’s a man having four drinks on any day and an average of 14 drinks per week. For women, it’s having three drinks in any one day and an average of seven drinks per week.alcohol and bladder cancer

A standard alcoholic drink is any of these.

    • A 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer
    • A 5-ounce glass of dinner wine
    • A shot (one and one-half ounces) of liquor or distilled spirits. (Spirits are whisky, rum, vodka, etc.)

Standard drinks have the amount of pure alcohol. It’s 0.6 of an ounce.

Beer, wine, and spirits have the same general benefits for health and long life.

      You might find this useful.

 Alcohol and Health

V. Resources on Bladder Cancer

Popular Readings

Libov, C. Cancer Survival Guide. How to Conquer It and Lead a Good Life. NY: Humanix, 2016.

Nat Cancer Inst. Bladder Cancer.

Raghavan, D. and Villiers-Tuthill, K. Cleveland Clinic Guide to Bladder Cancer. NY : Kaplan, 2010.

Schoenberg, M. The Guide to Living with Bladder Cancer. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U Press, 2001


1. Bladder Cancer: Who’s at Risk? 

2. What are the Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer?

3. Bladder Cancer Risk Factors.

4. Bladder Cancer Risks and Causes. 

5. Bladder Cancer Risk Factors. 

6. Bladder Cancer Risk Factors.

7. Bladder Cancer Risk Factors. 

8. Zeegers, M., et al. Alcohol Consumption and Bladder Cancer Risk. Am J Epid, 2001, 153(1), 38-41.

9. Pelucchi, C., et al. Alcohol drinking and bladder cancer. J Clin Epid, 2002, 55(7), 637-641.

10. Djousse, L., et al. Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Bladder Cancer. J Nat Cancer Inst, 2004 96(18), 1397-1400.

11. Liang, X., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of bladder cancer. Int J Cancer, 2007, 121(4), 839-845.

12. Bladder Cancer Symptoms.

Scientific Readings

    • Carmack A, and Soloway M. The diagnosis and staging of bladder cancer. Urol, 2006, 67(suppl 3A), 3-10.
    • Gilligan, T., et al. Bladder Cancer. In: Kufe, D., et al. (Eds.) Cancer Med 6. Hamilton, Ont: Decker, 2003. Pp. 1689-1706.
    • Grossman, H., et al. Detection of bladder cancer using a point-of-care proteomic assay. JAMA, 2005, 293(7), 810-816.
    • McDougal, W., et al. Cancer of the Bladder. In: DeVita, V., et al., (Eds.) Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 2008. Pp. 1358-1384.
    • Montie, J., et al. Carcinoma of the Bladder. In: Abeloff M., et al. (Eds.) Clinical Oncology. Philadelphia: Elsevier, 2004. Pp. 2059-2084.


This site does not give advice on alcohol and bladder cancer. Please see a doctor for that.