Signs & Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer
As with most cancers, signs and symptoms of bladder cancer don’t manifest themselves until the cancer has spread to a more advanced stage. While some people with bladder cancer may experience the following signs and symptoms, other people with bladder cancer experience no changes at all. Keep in mind that these symptoms can be caused by a medical condition other than cancer. Still, it is important that they are not ignored. If you experience any of the following signs and symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
How Can I Prevent Bladder Cancer
Stopping smoking is the best way to prevent bladder cancer. You should also reduce your exposure to cancer-causing agents to help prevent bladder cancer. Other than these measures, decreasing your risk of invasive bladder cancer relies on early detection of symptoms and possibly screening if you are high-risk.
Fatigue And Weakness Is Not Normal
Do you feel tired and weak with little to no interest in your normal activities? If you are sleeping more than your usual amount, and are still constantly tired, this may be a symptom of bladder cancer. Although fatigue and weakness are not common symptoms, they can happen to those in the advanced stage of the disease.
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How Lung Cancer And Back Pain Are Linked
When we think about back pain, usually the last thing that comes to mind is cancer. Instead, we connect it to things like an injury, such as a muscle strain or ruptured disc. Or we may think it’s because of a degenerative disease, like arthritis or osteoporosis.
Back pain caused by lung cancer shares some common features with many of these disorders. Yet it also has distinct differences. These may relate to how and where the cancer causes pain, both directly and indirectly.
Some possible ways in which lung cancer can produce back pain include:
- A tumor can place direct pressure on the structure of the back, most often in the mid to upper back rather than lower back.
- A tumor can irritate the nerves that serve the lining of the lungs and chest wall. This may trigger a sharp and sometimes chronic nerve pain.
- Cancer spread from the lungs to the spine and bones happens in some 30% of people with lung cancer.
- Spread of cancer to the adrenal glands occurs in 40% of people with lung cancer, and can cause pain right above the kidney.
Healthcare providers may overlook a possible lung cancer as the cause of back pain, especially in people who have never smoked. However, at the current time, most of the people who develop lung cancer are non-smokers, either never smokers or former smokers. Lung cancer cases are rising in young women and men who have never smoked.
What Does The Bladder Do
The bladder is the organ in your body that stores and then releases your wee. The wee comes down from your kidneys through the ureters into the bladder through the day and night. It is held in the bladder until it sends a signal to your brain telling you that you need to have a wee.
It is an efficient system that we never really think about until we get a problem. For most people, the system works very well throughout their lives, with only maybe the occasional UTI that would need a course of antibiotics, to worry about.
However, sometimes a problem can be more serious than this. You are probably reading this because either you or a loved one has been told that they could have bladder cancer. Or there are some worrying symptoms which you are looking to explain.
Very few people will experience all the symptoms listed here.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please talk to your GP.
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Prevention Of Bladder Cancer
There are several methods of preventing bladder cancer, but these are the major and most effective methods of preventing bladder cancer.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the major risk factor and cause of bladder cancer is smoking, so when you stop or reduce smoking, then you will be able to prevent and reduce the risk of developing bladder cancer.
Try as much to stop smoking. If you need family, friends, or health practitioners, then consult them immediately. Make sure you quit smoking so that you will be able to reduce your chances of developing bladder cancer now or in the future.
Increase the Consumption of Food and Healthy Meals
Fruits come with several vitamins and minerals that help to improve your overall health. Aside from that, they also treat and prevent several dangerous diseases, including bladder cancer and other diseases.
Take Caution Around Chemicals
A harmful and unhealthy chemical is also one of the major causes of bladder cancer, so to prevent bladder cancer, you need to avoid unnecessary, harmful, and unhealthy chemicals.
Evaluating Lower Back And Abdominal Pain
If a person experiences lower back and/or abdominal pain without any other symptoms, then it is not very likely that the cause is bladder cancer.2 However, if you experience symptoms related to urination as well as lower back or abdominal pain, then your healthcare provider will probably perform a series of tests to find out the cause. In patients with lower back or abdominal pain due to bladder cancer, the pain often occurs on only one side of the body.
A physical examination may include an examination of the vagina and/or rectum, and laboratory tests may include a urine test known as urinalysis, as well as other tests on samples of your urine to find out if the symptoms are being caused by an infection, for example. A procedure called cystoscopy may be needed, in which a thin tube-shaped instrument with a tiny camera is inserted into the bladder through the urethra . This can be used to view the inside of the urethra and bladder, and potentially to take small tissue samples if needed for a biopsy to check for signs of cancer cells.
If you are diagnosed with bladder cancer, then you may need to have further testing to find out if the bladder cancer cells have spread to other organs or other parts of the body. These may include a CT scan, an MRI, x-rays, and bone scans.
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Symptoms That May Suggest Lung Cancer
Symptoms of back pain linked to lung cancer may overlap with back pain caused by other conditions. If the cancer involves the spine, it can mimic many of the symptoms of an upper back injury.
Lung cancer-related back pain may feel dull like a muscle ache, or it may seem sharp like a pinched nerve. People with cancer that has spread to the adrenal glands may sometimes say they have “kidney pain” on one side of their back. They also may describe a feeling like they’ve just been “kidney punched.”
That said, back pain related to lung cancer may have certain telltale signs. Red flags that back pain may be due to lung cancer include:
- Back pain that is present at rest
- Back pain that is worst at night
- Back pain that happens without any activity
- Back pain that worsens the longer you lie in bed
- Back pain that gets worse when you take a deep breath
- Back pain that doesn’t respond to physical therapy or other treatment
The back pain may come with other telltale lung cancer signs like a cough that won’t go away or shortness of breath. Unintentional weight loss, chronic fatigue, or coughing up blood may further suggest lung cancer.
The “typical” symptoms of lung cancer are less likely to be present with lung adenocarcinoma, which often affects non-smokers. The most common symptoms with this type of cancer are fatigue and shortness of breath with exercise, which people may attribute to age or inactivity instead.
Stages Of Bladder Cancer
If you are diagnosed with bladder cancer, your doctor will perform further tests to determine the stage of the cancer.
Staging bladder cancer involves assessing the growth of the tumor and checking whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body.
Knowing the cancer’s stage is important in deciding the best course of treatment.
Some of the tests used to stage bladder cancer include:
- Bone scan
The stages of bladder cancer range from 0 to IV, with additional sub-categories to describe the tumor and where the cancer has spread. The most advanced stage is IV.
The following are brief descriptions of each stage:
Stage 0: The cancer is non-invasive and has grown only on the inner lining of the bladder.
Stage I: The cancer has spread to the connective tissue beneath the inner lining of the bladder, but not to the muscle of the bladder wall.
Stage II: The cancer has spread to the muscle of the bladder wall, but not to the fatty tissue surrounding the bladder.
Stage III: The cancer has spread to the fatty tissue surrounding the bladder and possibly to the prostate, vagina, or uterus but not to lymph nodes or organs outside the region.
Stage IV: The cancer has spread to the pelvic or abdominal wall, lymph nodes, or distant organs such as the bones, lungs, or liver.
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Olivia Newton John Says She Uses Cannabis To Help Treat Her Cancer
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Cancer Research UK says that bladder cancer is the 11th most common cancer in the UK, and the eighth most common cancer in men. The bladder is part of the urinary system, which filters waste products out of your blood and makes urine. If bladder cancer spreads to other parts of the body, such as other organs, it’s known as metastatic bladder cancer. Many of the signs of bladder cancer can show in your urine, but there are also a number of other signs which some people may experience.
How Is Bladder Cancer Staged
Cancer staging describes how much the cancer has grown and invaded the area, explaining the extent of the disease. Bladder cancer is often found at an early stage, as hematuria starts early in the course of the disease. Sometimes bladder cancer can advance to invasive disease before causing symptoms. To best understand staging, you need to know how cancer spreads and advances in stage.
Cancers can spread and disrupt how normal organs work. Bladder cancers often begin very superficially, involving only the lining of the bladder. Bladder cancers can invade the bladder wall, involving the muscular layers of the wall. As bladder cancer grows it can invade the entire way through the wall and into the fat surrounding the bladder or even into other organs . This local extension is the most common way bladder cancer spreads.
When cancer spreads to another area in the body, that area is called metastasis. Cancer can also spread through the lymph system and the bloodstream. Bladder cancer often spreads locally or to lymph nodes before spreading distantly, though this is not always the case. The lungs and bones are the most common areas for metastases to develop. When bladder cancer spreads to another area, it is still bladder cancer. For instance, if it spreads to the lung, it is not called lung cancer, but bladder cancer that has metastasized to the lung. If we look at the affected lung tissue under a microscope, it will look like bladder cancer cells.
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More Than Just Leg Pain
It wasnt until a sleepless night at a sports camp in Arizona that Whitmore says she knew something was seriously wrong. I couldnt sleep, and I was having a ton of sciatic nerve pain. I usually had it when I drove a long time or sat too longit was more annoying than anything.
The next morning she decided to try to go for a jog, and the pain immediately became excruciating. She opted instead to ride her bike, hoping that would ease the pain. Once I got on my bike I was in so much pain I was bawling. I flew back home to go to a nearby hospital. I knew whatever was going on was bad if I couldnt ride my bike. Whitmore never thought her leg pain could be cancerthe worst she thought it could be was a pulled a muscle.
After scans showed a grapefruit-sized mass near her ovary, she was referred to an obstetrician who performed an exploratory laparoscopy. He said he thought it was cancer, but I began to bleed out during surgery, so he was unable to retrieve a sample to biopsy. As her pain continued to increase, so did other symptoms. I wasnt able to use the restroom without pain I was bed-ridden, unable to walk. No one could tell me exactly what was wrong.
Courtesy Jamie Whitmore
What Causes Bladder Cancer And Am I At Risk
Each year, about 83,730 new cases of bladder cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. It affects more men than women and the average age at diagnosis is 73.
Cigarette smoking is the biggest risk factor for bladder cancer. About half of all bladder cancers are caused by cigarette smoking. Other risk factors for developing bladder cancer include: family history, occupational exposure to chemicals , previous cancer treatment with cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, or pelvic radiation, the medication pioglitazone, exposure to arsenic , aristolochic , bladder infections caused by schistosoma haematobium, not drinking enough fluids, a genetic condition called Lynch Syndrome, a mutation of the retinoblastoma gene or the PTEN gene. and neurogenic bladder and the overuse of indwelling catheters.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Adult Brain And Spinal Cord Tumors
Many different types of tumors can start in the brain or spinal cord. These tumors might cause different signs and symptoms, depending on where they are and how fast they are growing.
Signs and symptoms of brain or spinal cord tumors may develop gradually and become worse over time, or they can happen suddenly, such as with a seizure.
As A Professional Athlete Jamie Whitmore Was Used To Sufferingbut The Pain In Her Leg Was Excruciating She Never Imagined It Could Be A Deadly Cancer
Courtesy Jamie Whitmore
Jamie Whitmore, 43, isnt used to slowing down. The professional triathlete turned Paralympic gold medalist has never met a challenge she couldnt overcome, whether it was a mountain bike raceor cancer.
In 2007, Whitmore was considered a very successful athlete. She was a six-time U.S. champion for XTERRA racing, a two-time European Tour champion, and held a world title. Everything changed during a triathlon that seemed like so many others she had conquered.
I got out of the water and onto my bike and something was off with my left leg, Whitmore says. Once I got off the bike and began the running portion, I was shuffling. It was hard to pick my legs up. I knew something wasnt right. She avoided running for a while, focusing on her other two passionsswimming and biking. I didnt have any symptoms as long as I wasnt running. I took a break from it, but every time I tried again the muscles were super tight and I had a lot of pain in my hamstring. Assuming shed simply pushed herself too hard in the last race, Whitmore shrugged off the pain.
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Expert Review And References
- American Cancer Society. Bladder Cancer Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging. 2016: .
- American Society of Clinical Oncology. Bladder Cancer. 2017: .
- Feldman AS, Efstathiou JA, Lee RJ, Dahl DM, Michaelson MD, Zietman AL. Cancer of the bladder, ureter, and renal pelvis. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2015: 65:896-916.
- Mark JR. Bladder cancer. Porter RS . Merck Manual Professional Edition. Kenilworth, NJ: Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. 2017: .
- National Cancer Institute. Bladder Cancer Treatment Health Professional Version. 2018: .
Symptoms Of Recurrent Bladder Cancer
Although seven of every 10 cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed at an early stage when the cancer is treatable, post-treatment recurrence is a particular risk, and the disease has a recurrence rate of about 70%19. Because of this, individuals who have had bladder cancer will require surveillance for years following treatment.
Recurrence happens when you have smaller areas of cancer cells that stay in your body undetected. These cells, over time, might increase in number and eventually cause symptoms or show up on test results. Your doctor, who knows your medical history, will discuss your risk of recurrence during follow-up care.
Symptoms of recurrent bladder cancer often resemble those of early or advanced cancer. Let your doctor know if you develop any new symptoms like frequent urination, blood in your urine, immediate need to urinate or pain while urinating. These symptoms could be signs of bladder cancer recurrence or signs of another health condition.
Knowing the symptoms and signs of bladder cancer, no matter if it’s early, advanced or recurrent, is important and your first step to diagnosis and treatment.
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Lower Back Pain On One Side Of Body Can Be Bladder Cancer Symptom
Another bladder cancer symptom that is common but not commonly associated with the cancer type is lower back pain on one side of the body. This is because more than 80 percent of people experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. However, when bladder cancer is in an advanced stage and has grown into your bladders muscle walls or spread to other organs, lower back pain on that side of the body can be a symptom.