What Should I Do If I See Red
Blood in the urine is the most common symptom ofbladder cancer. Dont ignore this warning sign. Not even once.
It does not necessarily mean you have bladder cancer. Several conditions can cause blood in your urine . But its important to be checked by your doctor as soon as possible to seek treatment for whats causing the blood in the urine and to rule out bladder cancer as the cause.
Just because there is no pain, your condition may still be serious. Although the condition may be a bladder infection or urinary tract infection , be sure to ask your physician to do some tests to confirm that it is just an infection. If there is any doubt, ask for a referral to a urologist to investigate.
Early detection of bladder cancer is critical to receiving timely and effective treatment. It may save your life!
How Can Nerve Stimulation Help Overactive Bladder
There are several treatments that involve stimulating your nerves to help improve overactive bladder. Your nerves help communicate the message that your bladder needs to be emptied to your brain. By treating the nerves, your healthcare provider can improve your bladder control. Nerve stimulation is a reversible treatment that is considered when conservative treatments have not worked or have not been tolerated. Conservative treatments include behavioral therapies and medications.
There are several types of nerve stimulation treatments. These can include:
Changes In Bladder Habits Or Symptoms Of Irritation
Bladder cancer can sometimes cause changes in urination, such as:
- Having to urinate more often than usual
- Pain or burning during urination
- Feeling as if you need to go right away, even when your bladder isn’t full
- Having trouble urinating or having a weak urine stream
- Having to get up to urinate many times during the night
These symptoms are more likely to be caused by a urinary tract infection , bladder stones, an overactive bladder, or an enlarged prostate . Still, its important to have them checked by a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
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Radiotherapy With A Radiosensitiser
Radiotherapy is given by a machine that beams the radiation at the bladder . Sessions are usually given on a daily basis for five days a week over the course of four to seven weeks. Each session lasts for about 10 to 15 minutes.
A radiosensitiser should also be given alongside radiotherapy for muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This is a medicine which affects the cells of a tumour, to enhance the effect of radiotherapy. It has a much smaller effect on normal tissue.
As well as destroying cancerous cells, radiotherapy can also damage healthy cells, which means it can cause a number of side effects. These include:
- tightening of the vagina , which can make having sex painful
- erectile dysfunction
- difficulty passing urine
Most of these side effects should pass a few weeks after your treatment finishes, although there’s a chance they’ll be permanent.
Having radiation directed at your pelvis usually means you’ll be infertile for the rest of your life. However, most people treated for bladder cancer are too old to have children, so this isn’t usually a problem.
After having radiotherapy for bladder cancer, you should be offered follow-up appointments every three months for the first two years, then every six months for the next two years, and every year after that. At these appointments, your bladder will be checked using a cystoscopy.
What Happens Once I See A Urologist
To see if you may have bladder cancer, the urologist will do a cystoscopy. A small camera on a thin tube is inserted into your bladder through your urethra. Youre awake for this test, but the urethra is numbed with gel. Its a fairly quick exam and is essential. The urologist will also check your urine for abnormal cells and may order both an ultrasound and a CT scan.
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Signs Of Bladder Cancer: What Women Should Know
Bladder cancer may not be on your radar even if youre vigilant about getting routine GYN care. After all, its far more common among men than women, and the majority of cases affect patients over age 65. However, dont let those stats keep you from learning to spot the warning signs.
While bladder cancer isnt one of the most common cancers in women, about 18,000 women are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year in the United States . The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network reports that women are more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer at an advanced stage because they may not be on the lookout for early signs.
How Is Bladder Cancer Diagnosed
Frequently, a doctor will diagnose bladder cancer after an individual tells them about blood in their urine. When there’s enough blood in the urine to see it with the naked eye, it’s called “gross hematuria.” If you have small traces of blood in your urine you can’t see, it’s “microhematuria.” As mentioned previously, only a urine test can detect microscopic hematuria.
Procedures and tests your doctor may use to diagnose your bladder cancer include the following.
During cystoscopy, your doctor will insert a cystoscope through your urethra. This tool has a lens that allows them to see inside your bladder and urethra to examine their structures for signs of cancer.
2. Urine Cytology
The doctor analyzes a sample of your urine under a microscope, checking for cancer cells.
3. Genomic Urine Test
This is a lab test that measures several biomarker genes in your urine to accurately assess the probability that you have cancer.
During a cystoscopy procedure, your doctor might pass a specific tool into your bladder through the scope to biopsy for testing.
5. Imaging Tests
Imaging tests like retrograde pyelogram or computerized tomography allow your doctor to view and examine your urinary tract structures.
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Why Does Bladder Cancer Cause Hematuria
Blood in the urine is a hemorrhaging of the tumor. When the blood vessels of a tumor rupture, that blood ends up in the urine. Early on, cancer blood vessels are delicate. Small tears occur easily. As a tumor grows and invades nearby tissues and blood vessels, this causes bleeding. Whether in small or large amounts, the blood exits through the urine.1,3
Why Does Bladder Cancer Happen
Most cases of bladder cancer appear to be caused by exposure to harmful substances, which lead to abnormal changes in the bladder’s cells over many years.
Tobacco smoke is a common cause and it’s estimated that half of all cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking.
Contact with certain chemicals previously used in manufacturing is also known to cause bladder cancer. However, these substances have since been banned.
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Newer Molecular Markers For Prognosis
An area of intense research in the last few years is that of molecular markers for bladder cancer detection. Based on the large number of events necessary for cellular transformation of a normal urothelial cell to a malignant one, researchers are actively evaluating markers from each step in this transformation and their clinical significance. Newer techniques of identification and targeting of molecular signaling pathways have allowed this young field to advance quickly. The areas of most active study include cell-cycle genetic mutations, inhibition of apoptotic pathways, proangiogenic factors and a combination thereof.
As mentioned earlier, mutations in the genes that regulate the cell cycle are frequently seen in bladder carcinoma. Many studies have been focused on p21, p27, pRb, cyclins and p53 however, the results have been mixed up to this point. p53 has been the most studied regulatory target, with authors linking genetic alterations to recurrence and progression in a number of studies . Some recent data also suggest that a higher proportion of deranged p53 correlates with increasingly invasive tumors . To date, however, p53 has not been positively linked to disease prognosis in early trials . P27, pRB and cyclins continue to undergo intense scrutiny but results for their prognostic implications are mixed .
Questions To Ask The Doctor
- What treatment do you think is best for me?
- Whats the goal of this treatment? Do you think it could cure the cancer?
- Will treatment include surgery? If so, who will do the surgery?
- What will the surgery be like?
- How will I pee after surgery?
- Will I have other types of treatment, too?
- Whats the goal of these treatments?
- What side effects could I have from these treatments?
- Is there a clinical trial that might be right for me?
- What about treatments like special vitamins or diets that friends tell me about? How will I know if they are safe?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- Is there anything I can do to help the treatment work better?
- Whats the next step?
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Large Or Visible Hematuria
Large or visible hematuria is also called gross hematuria. They may appear pink, red, or brown in the toilet. When visible, the color varies depending on:
- Amount of blood in the urine
- Length of time blood has been in the urine
- Urine level of acidity
When blood is visible in the urine, you should contact your doctor.2
“When urinating, I bled like crazy.”
“Toilet full of blood.”
When Should I Reach Out To My Doctor About Frequent Urination
Because the conditions behind frequent urination can range wildly from casual to severe, you should speak to your doctor about anything outside of your typical urination patterns. In some cases, frequent urination may be just an annoying symptom that will end when you cut back on the caffeineor have the baby. However, if you are unsure why youre urinating so frequently, it is best to set up an appointment and talk about it. This is a symptom that can often be treated and isnt something that you need to just deal with.
There are a few signs to keep an eye out for and call your doctor immediately if you have them with frequent urination. These include:
- If you have a fever.
- If you are vomiting.
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Urology Awareness And Bladder Cancer
Originally published on: September 21st, 2021. Last modified on September 22nd, 2021
David, 75, a retired Bomb Disposal Operator from Clevedon was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October 2020. He knows only too well how important it is to get those early symptoms checked after he initially dismissed blood in his urine as a strain injury. Davids story featured as part of the Healthline Urology Awareness Campaign, which Bladder & Bowel Community are proud to support.
Read on for his full story.
I had one occurrence of blood in my urine after a day of lifting heavy slabs in September so I dismissed it. Two weeks later, there was blood in my urine repeatedly so I sent off a urine sample to my GP. I was referred to the Urology one-stop clinic and got my diagnosis the very same day.
I initially underwent the TURBT procedure , to remove two tumours, four were found and were graded as G3 aggressive. By December, three more tumours were found, and after a difficult decision, in January I underwent surgery to remove my bladder, prostate, urethra, seminal vesicles, lymph nodes and form a urostomy.
I now live with my NHS bag for life, I was told I wouldnt see next Christmas without it. Ive adjusted pretty well. Initially I had regular visits from the stoma nurses in hospital to teach me how to change my bag and general advice. I also came home with 10 extra inches on my waist from all the air I was pumped up with!
Are There Any Other Tests That May Be Recommended
Any one or more of the following may be suggested:
Urinalysis:Urine is tested for evidence of infection, blood or diabetes
Bladder Ultrasound:Sound waves are used to check the amount of urine left behind in your bladder after you urinate
Cystoscopy:A thin tube with a telescope is used to look inside your urethra and bladder for anything that may be irritating your bladder
Urodynamics:Various techniques are used to measure pressure in the bladder and the flow of urine
Treatment Options For Invasive Cancer
When the cancer invades the muscle or deeper portions of the bladder, the risk of the cancer spreading to the lymph nodes is approximately 20 percent. Complete removal of the bladder is the treatment of choice, as this provides excellent control of the primary tumor and removes all of the primary lymph node drainage and any potential cancer-bearing lymph nodes. In a male this operation includes removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles. The male urethra is removed only when there is involvement of the prostate substance. In a woman the uterus and ovaries are removed in postmenopausal women, and infrequently, a small portion of the vagina must be removed. Vaginal reconstruction is performed in sexually active women.
When the bladder is removed, the urinary tract must be reconstructed to allow passage of the urine. This is called a “urinary diversion.” In a male the nerves responsible for the urge for erections run alongside the prostate, and a nerve-sparing operation can be done in order to preserve erectile function. When it is necessary to remove these nerves, a nerve graft can be performed to bridge the gap between the cut ends of the nerves. The nerve graft is harvested from the sural nerve, which is on the outside of the ankle and is commonly used for nerve graft procedures in other parts of the body.
What Is Bladder Cancer
Cancer can start any place in the body. Cancer that starts in the bladder is called bladder cancer. It starts when cells in the bladder grow out of control and crowd out normal cells. This makes it hard for the body to work the way it should.
Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body. For instance, cancer cells in the bladder can travel to the bone and grow there. When cancer cells spread, its called metastasis.
Cancer is always named for the place where it starts. So when bladder cancer spreads to the bone , it’s still called bladder cancer. Its not called bone cancer unless it starts in the bone.
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Reasons You May Find Blood In Your Urine
1. Rigorous Exercise
Intense exercise, especially in younger people, has been known to cause blood in urine. Joggers Hematuria is common in runners, and is usually caused by the friction between the walls of the bladder.
To avoid this, some find that its best to run on a somewhat full bladder. You dont want your bladder to be empty, and you dont want it to be too full either. Having fluid in your bladder may help prevent friction, and help you avoid potential blood in your urine.
2. Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection or UTI is another common cause of blood in urine. A UTI is a genitourinary infection typically experienced in women . One of the most common UTI symptoms is dark-colored urine or urine that appears to have blood in it.
A UTI is an infection, and will need to be treated by a urologist. If you think you have a UTI, dont wait to make an appointment. Also, take a look at some ways to ease the discomfort from a UTI.
3. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are another culprit known to cause red urine. Not only are kidney stones extremely painful, but a rigid stone rubbing against the walls of your kidney can cause ongoing bleeding.
If you notice blood in your urine, accompanied by severe pain in your kidneys, call your urologist immediately to discuss treatment options.
4. Enlarged Prostate
While blood in urine is alarming, its definitely more cause for concern with older peopleespecially older men battling an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer.
Common Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer In Men
If you are a man over the age of 55 and experiencing symptoms like lower back pain and difficulty urinating, it may be easy to dismiss these problems as old age setting in. But these symptoms can be red flags of something more serious, like bladder cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2021 more than 83,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with bladder cancer, the majority of which will be men. Men are three to four times more likely than women to develop bladder cancer. The good news is, bladder cancer has a five-year survival rate of 77%, and catching it early provides the best opportunity for treatment. Were taking a closer look at why men are more susceptible than women to get bladder cancer and sharing common symptoms of bladder cancer in men, so you can spot the signs early.
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Can Frequent Urination Be Controlled Or Stopped
Frequent urination can be controlled, and often, stopped over time and with treatment. Your healthcare provider will usually start by determining the cause of your symptom. If the condition can be treated, you should see a decrease in how often you need to urinate. Treatment depends completely on the condition. In cases like a UTI, you may need an antibiotic medication. This may be prescribed by your healthcare provider and you should feel better once you have finished the medication. Other conditions like diabetes or prostate problems will require a trip to see a specialist. The specialist will work with you to manage your symptoms and improve your daily routine. If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with overactive bladder syndrome, pelvic floor physical therapy may help and there are actually several medications that can be used to calm your bladder. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether or not these might be good options for you.