How To Identify the Signs of Bladder Cancer

Cancer word in newspaper with magnifying glass

It is extremely important to be able to identify the signs of bladder cancer. The compelling reason is that if you identify this cancer early, then you will most likely survive for many years afterward.

If the cancer is diagnosed before it spreads beyond the inner layer of the bladder wall, then the 5-year survival rate soars to 96 percent.

If cancer spreads to surrounding tissues, the 5-year survival rate plunges to a scary 36 percent. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men, and men are four times more likely to get this form of cancer than women. That said, around 19,000 women will be diagnosed with bladder cancer every year.

In this article, you will read about the different types of bladder cancer and how you can spot the signs. This information is potentially life-saving and a worthwhile reading investment.

Am I at Risk of Getting Bladder Cancer?

It seems we are not all predisposed to the same types of cancer. So this is an excellent question. The biggest risk factor for getting bladder cancer is smoking. 

This is mainly for people who smoke cigarettes but also applies to people who smoke a pipe and cigars. In fact, you are 4 to 7 times more likely to get bladder cancer if you are a smoker. 

This is a serious prompt to give smoking another think and try to quit. Apart from smoking, the next biggest risk factor is age. Nearly two-thirds of patients with bladder cancer are over 65 years of age.

The introduction to this article already mentioned that men are at risk much more than women. Here we can add that white males are twice as likely to be diagnosed than black males.

Types of Bladder Cancer

There are three types of carcinoma. The most common form arising from the lining of the bladder. As the bladder size changes with the presence of urine these cells expand. 

Another carcinoma comes from an epithelial layer of cells that line the urinary tract. This type of cancer is associated with a history of irritation and infection like symptoms. It can also be triggered by long term urinary catheter use.

The bladder secretes mucus and these glands can give rise to another carcinoma. This form of bladder cancer is much rarer in the United States. Rarer again is a form of bladder cancer that affects the muscle and fat around the bladder.

It seems as many as a third of patients with this form of cancer are diagnosed late and the disease is already at a late stage. Small cell cancer is a particularly aggressive form of cancer that spreads quickly to other areas of the body.

Know the Warning Signs of Bladder Cancer

It is good to be well-informed about the signs of bladder cancer but that is especially true if you are in the risk group. Here are some of the red flags to look out for.

Hematuria - Look for Blood in Your Urine

Blood in your urine can be visible to the eye or there may be microdroplets. There are tests for your urine that will detect microdroplets. As a general rule, if you can see blood in your urine then the disease is more advanced.

Sadly, some women overlook this symptom because they can attribute blood to menstruation. So it is important to see the whole picture in the light of other symptoms.

Signs of Infection

Irritation of the urinary tract, repeated infection-like symptoms, and discomfort, are all possible indications of cancer starting. These types of symptoms can be easily dismissed or confused with a bladder infection. Try to weigh these symptoms in relation to your overall risk and the presence of other warning signs.

Pain Without Apparent Cause

Pain is not always associated with early symptoms of cancer abnormalities developing in your bladder. Yet, as cancer advances, it is more likely to cause pain in your abdomen or lower back. If you are experiencing this for no apparent reason then you will want to rule out bladder cancer by visiting your doctor.

Wider Symptoms - Fatigue and Weightloss

As bladder cancer advances through its various stages, cancer can spread to other areas of the body and you can develop wider symptoms such as feeling tired and losing weight. 

Advanced Bladder Cancer

Sadly some people are diagnosed with bladder cancer late and by this time have developed other systemic symptoms such as swollen feet, back pain, and even trouble to breathe if cancer has spread to the lungs.

What Is the Treatment?

The management of bladder cancer follows the same path for many cancers. The first priority is to remove the cancer cells as much as that is possible. The first option is usually surgery followed by chemotherapy.

Not everyone will want to opt for surgery, or it may not be possible. Plus, chemotherapy brings its own challenges, so some people prefer natural treatment for bladder cancer

Don't Delay - Go See Your Doctor

One in five or six people will develop some form of cancer. In this article, you have read about the warning signs of bladder cancer. That makes you better prepared to spot any problems early on and get treatment.

Now that you know what you are looking out for, if you spot something, then do not delay in going to your doctor. Don't stop reading here, you can check out other health-related articles on this site that fit with your health needs.

 

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