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.
Read more about the causes of bladder cancer and preventing bladder cancer
Risk Factors For Bladder Cancer
There are some things that can make you more likely to develop bladder cancer. These are called risk factors and they include:
- smoking chemicals in cigarettes can cause bladder cancer, so if you smoke, your risk is up to 3 times that of a non-smoker
- age most people with bladder cancer are over 60 years of age
- being male men are around 3 times more likely than women to develop bladder cancer
- chemicals being in contact with certain chemicals for a long period of time, like aromatic amines, benzene products and aniline dyes, which have been linked to bladder cancer
- chronic infections frequent infections of the bladder over a long period of time
- previous cancer treatments some types of radiation therapy around the pelvis, and the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide
- family history a first degree relative with bladder cancer increases risk up to nearly 2 times higher than the general population.
Having these risk factors doesnt mean you will develop bladder cancer. Often there is no clear reason for getting bladder cancer. If you are worried about your risk factors, ask your doctor for advice.
How Does Bladder Cancer Spread
Bladder cancer usually begins in the cells of the bladder lining. In some cases, it may spread into surrounding bladder muscle. If the cancer penetrates this muscle, it can spread to other parts of the body, usually through the lymphatic system.
If bladder cancer spreads to other parts of the body, such as other organs, it’s known as metastatic bladder cancer.
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What Goes Into A Prognosis
When figuring out your prognosis, your healthcare provider will consider all the things that could affect the cancer and its treatment. He or she will look at risk estimates about the exact type and stage of the cancer you have. These estimates are based on what results researchers have seen over many years in thousands of people with the same type and stage of cancer.
If your cancer is likely to respond well to treatment, your healthcare provider will say you have a favorable prognosis. This means youre expected to live many years and may even be cured. If your cancer is likely to be hard to control, your prognosis may be less favorable. The cancer may shorten your life. Its important to keep in mind that a prognosis states whats likely or probable. It’s not a prediction of what will definitely happen. No healthcare provider can be fully certain about an outcome.
Your prognosis depends mainly on:
The type and location of the cancer
The stage of the cancer
Your overall health
Your treatment decisions
Living With Advanced Cancer
Advanced cancer usually means cancer that is unlikely to be cured. Some people can live for many months or years with advanced cancer. During this time palliative care services can help.
Most people continue to have treatment for advanced cancer as part of palliative care, as it helps manage the cancer and improve their day-to-day lives. Many people think that palliative care is for people who are dying but palliative care is for any stage of advanced cancer. There are doctors, nurses and other people who specialise in palliative care.
Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or another type of treatment. It can help in these ways:
- slow down how fast the cancer is growing
- shrink the cancer
- help you to live more comfortably by managing symptoms, like pain.
Treatment depends on:
Cancer can spread through tissue, the lymph system, and the blood:
- Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
- Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
- Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.
Read Also: What Is Non Invasive Bladder Cancer
For Patients With A Urostomy
If you had a radical cystectomy and now have a urostomy, you might worry even about everyday activities at first. You might have to alter some of your daily routines because of changes in how you urinate. Other issues such as having sex might also cause concerns .
Its normal to have worries and concerns when adjusting to such a major change. But its important to know there are health care professionals who are specially trained to help people with their urostomies. They can teach you to take care of your urostomy and help you cope with the changes it brings. You can also ask the American Cancer Society about programs offering information and support in your area. For more information, see our Urostomy Guide.
If Youre Concerned About Bladder Cancer Talk To Your Doctor About Cxbladder
Cxbladder is a cutting-edge genomic urine test that quickly and accurately detects or rules out bladder cancer. The test combines clinical risk factor markers with genetic information, measuring five biomarker genes to detect the presence or absence of bladder cancer in hematuria patients and those being monitored for recurrence.
Cxbladder comes as a suite of tests, each optimised for a different point in the patient journey:
- Cxbladder Triage: Incorporates known bladder cancer risk factors to help quickly rule out the disease.
- Cxbladder Detect: Designed to work alongside other tests to improve overall detection accuracy.
- Cxbladder Monitor: A non-invasive surveillance alternative that can reduce the need for frequent cystoscopies.
Cxbladder gives you peace of mind and will help your physician make informed treatment decisions.
Speak to your doctor or urologist to learn more about Cxbladder and which test might be right for you. You can also contact our Customer Service Team directly.Learn more about CxbladderContact us for more information
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Combination With Conventional Treatments
Far safer ground is to use phytotherapy to support the cancer patient undergoing conventional treatments. Phytotherapy may be given prior to conventional treatments to help the patient prepare for them . They may also be given during conventional treatments to improve treatment outcomes, QOL and reduce side effects. They may be given after conventional treatment for all the above reasons, but also to prevent cancer recurrence and improve survival prospects. This is the most active area of research for phytotherapy in cancer and some relevant clinical studies will be reviewed.
Twenty-five patients with a variety of very advanced cancers of the gastrointestinal tract undergoing palliative radio- or chemotherapy received up to 3 g/day of GLA as evening primrose oil . They were matched to 25 controls.45 The group receiving EPO exhibited highly statistically significant and clinically relevant survival differences and fewer adverse effects were noted from concurrent conventional treatment. Cancer markers also fell in some patients .
Codonopsis is a widely prescribed adaptogen in China, used in conjunction with conventional cancer therapies to reduce side effects and support immunity.58 It was used as an adjuvant in 76 cancer patients during radiotherapy and reduced its immunosuppressive effect.59 Pharmacological studies suggest it can help both white and red blood cell production.60
What Is The First Sign Of Bladder Cancer
Blood in the urine, referred to as hematuria, is usually the first sign of bladder cancer. This is because early bladder cancer commonly causes bleeding without associated pain or other symptoms.
- Depending on the amount of blood present, urine may appear pink, red, or brownish in color.
- Blood may not be present all the time – there may be relatively long periods of clear urine .
If you have noticed blood in your urine it is important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
Other early symptoms of bladder cancer that may be experienced are urinary irritation or changes in bladder habits, such as increased urination frequency and/or urgency, pain or a burning sensation during urination, or difficulty passing urine.
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What Are The Chances Of Survival With Bladder Cancer
Survival rates for bladder cancer tell you what percentage of people with the same type and stage of bladder cancer are still alive a certain amount of time after the initial diagnosis of the cancer.
Survival rates do not exactly predict how long an individual will live. But these statistics can give an understanding about how likely it is for you to live a certain amount of time after the diagnosis such as five years or two years.
Your doctor will be able to provide better idea about your individual case based the condition such as stage of cancer, your current treatment, and your overall health.
How Can I Prevent Bladder Cancer
You may not be able to prevent bladder cancer, but it may be helpful to know the risk factors that may increase the chance youll develop bladder cancer. Bladder cancer risk factors may include:
- Smoking cigarettes: Cigarette smoking more than doubles the risk of developing bladder cancer. Smoking pipes and cigars or being exposed to second-hand smoke also increases that risk.
- Cancer treatments: Radiation therapy is the second-most common risk factor. People who have certain chemotherapy drugs may also develop an increased risk of bladder cancer.
- Exposure to certain chemicals: People who work with chemicals, such as aromatic amines , are at an increased risk. Extensive exposure to rubber, leather, some textiles, paint and hairdressing supplies, typically related to occupational exposure, also appears to increase the risk.
- Infections: People who have frequent bladder infections, bladder stones or other urinary tract diseases may have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Past bladder cancer: People with a previous bladder cancer are at increased risk to form new or recurrent bladder tumors.
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Who Dies From Bladder Cancer
The statistics for the deaths in the U.S. are as follows :
- Among all races, the number of male deaths for every 100,000 was 7.6
- Among all races, the number of female deaths for every 100,000 was 2.2
- Among White Americans, the number of male deaths for every 100,000 was 8.1
- Among White Americans, the number of female deaths for every 100,000 was 2.2
- Among Black Americans, the number of male deaths for every 100,000 was 5.4
- Among Black Americans, the number of female deaths for every 100,000 was 2.5
- The percent of bladder cancer deaths is highest among people with age group 75-84
Non Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer
Most bladder cancers are diagnosed when they are still only in the bladder lining. These are called non muscle invasive bladder cancers. The prognosis for non muscle invasive bladder cancers depends on several factors, including:
- exactly how far the cancer cells have gone into the bladder lining
- the number of tumours
- how wide the tumours are
- how abnormal the cancer cells look under the microscope
- whether CIS is present
- whether this a recurrence and how often a tumour has recurred
Your doctor looks at all these factors. They use them to decide whether there is a low, medium or high risk of the cancer coming back or spreading into the muscle of the bladder. Your doctor will be able to tell you about your risk group and how this affects your outlook.
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What Is The Five Year Survival Rate For Bladder Cancer
A five-year survival rate is the percentage of people in a study or treatment group who are alive five years after they were diagnosed with or started treatment for a disease such as bladder cancer. Their disease may or may not have recurred during that time.
The American Cancer Society periodically reports on the five-year survival rate for bladder cancer. The most recently period studied was from 2010 to 2016 and that rate was 77%. This means that from the time of diagnosis, 77 out of 100 people diagnosed with bladder cancer were alive in five years. From 1987 1989 , the five-year survival rate was 79% and from 1975 1977, it was 72%. The survival rates are not the same for everyone, however.
How Do Bladder Cancer Survival Rates Differ By Disease Stage
Staging of bladder cancer provides information on the extent of cancer in the body and whether the cancer has spread beyond the bladder this information helps predict how likely the cancer will respond to treatment.
Approximately half of bladder cancers are found at an early stage, when the cancer is in the surface layer of the bladder only .12 About one third of bladder cancers have spread to the deeper layers of the bladder wall but are still only in the bladder the remainder of cancers have spread into nearby tissues or lymph nodes or, rarely, to distant parts of the body.
The 5-year survival rate for bladder cancer varies by stage of the disease at diagnosis, which emphasizes the importance of detecting bladder cancer at an early stage.13
Note: In situ = cancer is confined to the surface layer of the bladder Localized = cancer has not spread outside of the bladder Regional = cancer has spread to nearby structures or lymph nodes Distant = cancer has spread to distant parts of the body
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How Does Recurrence Of Bladder Cancer Affect Survival Rate
Recurrent bladder cancer is cancer that has returned after initial treatment. Recurrence rates for bladder cancer depend on the stage of the original tumor, with 5-year recurrence rates of approximately 65% in patients with non-invasive or in situ tumors and 73% in patients with slightly more advanced disease at first diagnosis.16
Many patients with non-invasive bladder cancer have recurrences that are typically not life threatening however, the prognosis is generally worse if the disease has spread into deeper layers of the bladder wall or beyond to the lymph nodes or other organs.
What Is Stage 4 Bladder Cancer
Receiving a diagnosis of stage 4 bladder cancer can feel overwhelming.
Stage 4 bladder cancer is the most advanced stage, and the prognosis is less promising than in earlier stages.
Many cancer treatments can be challenging. However, treatment can reduce or even eliminate your symptoms and help you live a longer, more comfortable life.
Its important to consider the pros and cons of treating stage 4 bladder cancer because treatments have side effects and risks.
Symptoms of bladder cancer can include:
- blood or blood clots in your urine
- pain or burning during urination
- frequent urination
- needing to urinate at night
- needing to urinate but not being able to
- lower back pain on one side of the body
These symptoms commonly lead to a diagnosis, but they arent unique to stage 4 bladder cancer.
Stage 4 bladder cancer is also called metastatic bladder cancer. This means the cancer has spread outside the bladder into other areas.
People with metastatic cancer may experience symptoms relating to where the cancer has spread. For example, if bladder cancer has spread to the lungs, they may experience chest pain or increased coughing.
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Whats Usually The First Symptom Of Bladder Cancer
Blood in your pee is the most common bladder cancer symptom. That said, simply having blood in your pee isnt a sure sign of bladder cancer. Other conditions cause this issue, too. But you should contact a healthcare provider whenever you spot blood in your pee. Other bladder cancer symptoms include:
- Visible blood in your pee : Healthcare providers can also spot microscopic amounts of blood in pee when they do a urinalysis.
- Pain when you pee : This is a burning or stinging sensation that you may feel when you start to pee or after you pee. Men and DMAB may have pain in their penises before or after peeing.
- Needing to pee a lot: Frequent urination means youre peeing many times during a 24-hour period.
- Having trouble peeing: The flow of your pee may start and stop or the flow may not be as strong as usual.
- Persistent bladder infections: Bladder infections and bladder cancer symptoms have common symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider if you have a bladder infection that doesnt go away after treatment with antibiotics.
Bladder Reconstructions And Stomas
If you have had your bladder removed, the way you pass urine will change. There are several options that your treatment team will talk to you about:
- Urostomy is where doctors create a new hole in your abdomen called a stoma. Urine drains from the stoma to the outside of your abdomen into a special bag.
- Neobladder is where a new bladder made from your small bowel forms a pouch inside your body to store urine. You will pass urine by squeezing your abdominal muscles. You will also pass a small tube into the neobladder each day to help drain the urine.
- Continent urinary diversion is a pouch made from your small bowel inside your body to store urine. The urine empties through a hole called a stoma to the outside of your abdomen into a special bag.
A bladder reconstruction is a big change in your life. You can speak with a continence or stomal therapy nurse for help, support and information. You can also call Cancer Council . You may be able to speak with a trained Cancer Council volunteer who has had cancer for tips and support.
If you find it difficult to adjust after your bladder reconstruction, it may help to be referred to a psychologist or counsellor.
Note: If you have a stoma, you can join a stoma association for support and free supplies. For more information about stoma associations, visit the Australian Council of Stoma Associations.
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