Bladder Cancer Symptoms And Treatment
Cancer of bladder usually begins in the lining of the bladder and is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. These cells grow through the lining and can spread to the lymph nodes, liver, and lungs. The specific grade of cancer is determined by appearance of cancer cells in comparison with regular cells. The stage is determined by how far the cancer has spread to other tissues or organs. Bladder cancer symptoms include hematuria (blood in the urine) and frequent painful urination. Bladder cancer symptoms that may indicate more advanced issues include swelling in the lower legs, a pelvic mass, or pain in the lower back. Symptoms that may develop are anemia and weight loss.
Bladder cancer treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and biological therapy. A popular bladder cancer treatment used after surgery is Bacillus Calmette-Guerin or BCG. It is proven to lower the risk the cancer will progress and the BCG bladder cancer survival rate is higher than the number of patients who go with surgery alone. It is important to discuss the diagnosis and treatment options with a physician to determine the benefits of treatment.
Smoking is the greatest risk factor for bladder cancer and causes around half the bladder cancer deaths in men and a fourth in women. Carcinogens in tobacco are absorbed through the lungs into the blood and are then filtered by the kidneys. Those chemicals damage the lining of the bladder as they are passed through the urine. Exposure to chemicals in the work place affect the body in the same way. Race or heredity is also a factor. As with most health issues, age is also a factor. Over 70% of those diagnosed with bladder cancer are over the age of 65. Men are at a risk 4 times larger than women. Genetics also plays a strong roll in the risk factor of bladder cancer. Bladder stones are clumps of bacteria that form in the urinary tract and are deposited in the bladder. Patients who are prone to urinary tract infections are more likely to form these stones which contribute to possible cancer. Patients who do not drink enough fluids also increase their risk for this cancer.
The most important role after being diagnosed with bladder cancer is to learn about the disease. Treatment and lifestyle changes will control a patient’s prognosis. Factors to consider are the type, location, grade and stage of the cancer. It is also important to consider general health, age and most importantly the response to treatment. A prognosis is a medical opinion and is not fact. It is a chance that the patient will recover, not a determined time left. The 5 year survival rate for patients who began treatment in the beginning stages was reported by the American Cancer Society to be 98%. Watching for symptoms, seeking proper treatment, and living a healthy lifestyle will not only help prevent cancer of bladder, it will also help in treatment.