When To Contact A Doctor
Its important to be proactive if you have early signs and symptoms of this disease. An early diagnosis can greatly improve your outlook.
Because bladder cancer is less common in women than men, a healthcare professional may take a conservative approach. In many instances, bladder cancer symptoms in women do turn out to be other conditions. Still, you may prefer to be cautious.
If youre not comfortable with the advice you get from a clinician, consider getting a second opinion. This may be especially important if you have risk factors for bladder cancer.
Blood In Urine Most Common Symptom Of Bladder Cancer
Seeing blood in your urine is often the first symptom of bladder cancer. How much blood you see may vary, and can cause your urine to change colors, such as red, pink, or even orange. If you have only a small amount of blood in your urine, you may not be able to see it at all, and your doctor will conduct a urine test to detect it. This symptom can also be caused by an infection, non-cancerous tumors, or even kidney or bladder stones, so its important to have it checked out.
Do The Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer Differ In Males And Females
In both males and females, blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer and often the first sign that is noticed. However, while bladder cancer is more frequently diagnosed in men than in women, females often present with advanced tumors and their outcomes may be accordingly poorer.
A major reason for women presenting with more advanced bladder tumors is often the delay in receiving a diagnosis. This delay may occur because:
- Blood in the urine , the most common symptom of bladder cancer, may be discounted by women as being related to menstruation or post-menopausal bleeding.
- When blood in the urine and urinary irritation is reported to a doctor it may be initially misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection , which has similar initial symptoms to bladder cancer .
- UTIs and bladder cancer can occur at the same time, in which case the UTI will be the logical first diagnosis.
- If a woman subsequently presents after treatment failure for a misdiagnosed UTI, further antibiotics may be prescribed rather than carrying out a complete urological evaluation.
Because of this confusion, a definitive diagnosis of bladder cancer may be delayed in some women. Of concern in these situations is the risk that bladder cancer becomes more advanced and may therefore be more difficult to treat.
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Bladder Cancer Clinical Trials
What about Clinical Trials?
You may hear about clinical trials for your bladder cancer. Clinical trials are research studies that test if a new treatment or procedure is safe and effective.
Through clinical trials, doctors find new ways to improve treatments and the quality of life for people with disease. Trials are available for all stages of cancer. The results of a clinical trial can make a major difference to patients and their families. Please visit our clinical trials research webpage to learn more.
Theres Pain And Burning Sensation During Urination
The symptom of pain or burning during urination is called dysuria. While this can be an indicator for other conditions, its still important to pay attention to changes happening in your urinary system. One important thing to take note of is that patients with bladder cancer can experience the symptom of blood in the urine without pain or burning during urination.
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What Are The Symptoms
Sometimes bladder cancer doesnt have many symptoms and is found when a urine test is done for another reason. However, most people with bladder cancer do have some symptoms. These symptoms can include:
Blood in the urine This is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. It often happens suddenly, but is usually not painful. There may be only a small amount of blood in the urine and it may look red or brown. The blood may come and go, or it may appear only once or twice.
Never ignore blood in your urine. If you notice any blood in your urine, see your doctor and arrange to see a specialist to have your bladder examined with a camera.
Changes in bladder habits Changes may include a burning feeling when passing urine , needing to pass urine more often or urgently, not being able to urinate when you feel the urge, and pain while urinating.
Other symptoms Less commonly, people have pain in one side of their lower abdomen or back.
Not everyone with these symptoms has bladder cancer, but if you have any of these symptoms or are concerned, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Which health professionals will I see?
Your general practitioner will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms. If these tests do not rule out cancer, you will usually be referred to a specialist called a urologist. The specialist will arrange further tests.
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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Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer In Men
Symptoms of bladder cancer are generally similar in men and women. However, with men nearly four times as likely than women to get bladder cancer, its important to stay on top of your bladder health.
These symptoms do not always mean you have bladder cancer. However, if youre feeling unwell or experience these symptoms, talk with your doctor.
Other Causes Of Blood In The Urine
Blood in the urine is common. At any one time, between 1% and 18% of the population will have asymptomatic microscopic hematuria, but only 1.3% of patients with this symptom have bladder cancer. Other causes of hematuria include:
- Some medications , Rifadin , certain blood thinners, laxatives. and chemotherapy drugs
- Bladder and/or kidney infections
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Treatment For Stage 2 And Stage 3
Treatment for stage 2 and stage 3 bladder cancer may include:
- removal of part of the bladder in addition to chemotherapy
- removal of the whole bladder, which is a radical cystectomy, followed by surgery to create a new way for urine to exit the body
- chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy that can be done to shrink the tumor before surgery, to treat the cancer when surgery isnt an option, to kill remaining cancer cells after surgery, or to prevent the cancer from recurring
Pain In Other Areas Of Your Body
Advanced bladder cancer may spread to these areas of the body:
As cancer metastasizes, it may infiltrate bones throughout your body. This can result in bone pain or tenderness at night or during activity. Your bones may also be more susceptible to breakage.
Cancer that has spread to your lungs may cause chest pain. It may also make it hard for you to breathe, cause a chronic cough, or cause your voice to sound different.
Cancer that has spread to your abdomen or liver may cause stomach 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 Advanced Bladder Cancer In Women
Undiagnosed and untreated bladder cancer may advance, causing additional symptoms. Many of these result from the original tumor getting larger.
As bladder cancer progresses, it penetrates the bladder lining and the surrounding layers of muscle and tissue. If the cancer continues to metastasize , it may also cause symptoms in nearby or faraway organs and tissues.
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All You Need To Know About Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer has become one of the top ten most common cancer types in the world, with approximately 5,50,000 new cases occurring annually. According to the National Institutes of Health*, approximately 17,000 women and 45,000 men are diagnosed with this disease per year.
In this blog, we shall know more about Bladder cancer, its causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
What is Bladder Cancer?
The bladder is a hollow muscular organ present in the lower part of your abdomen that stores urine. Bladder cancer often starts in the cells of the inner lining of the bladder i.e. urothelial cells.
Bladder cancer is mostly diagnosed at an early stage when the cancer is highly treatable. However, there is a possibility of recurrence of early-stage Bladder cancers even after successful treatment due to which people with Bladder cancer need to undergo regular follow-up tests for years after treatment.
Causes of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer occurs when the DNA of bladder cells undergoes changes or mutation. This causes bladder cells to grow abnormally, leading to the formation of a tumor in the bladder.
Other causes of bladder cancer are yet unknown, however, there are certain risk factors linked to the disease.
This includes smoking tobacco and exposure to certain chemicals and gases. People with a family history of Bladder cancer also have a higher chance of developing it.
Signs and symptoms of Bladder Cancer
Some common signs and symptoms of Bladder cancer include:
Advanced Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is considered advanced when the tumor has grown and penetrated the bladder lining and surrounding layers of tissue and muscle. At this stage, the cancer may have spread to other parts of the body . Symptoms of advanced bladder cancer include the following:
- Urination problems: Inability to urinate
- Pain in the lower back: Another indication the tumor has spread is pain, particularly in the area above your pubic bone or the flank area. Pain in your perineum might also occur if your bladder cancer has reached tissues nearby. Pain may only be on one side.
- Weight loss or loss of appetite: You lose weight without trying, or you’ve lost your appetite and aren’t as hungry as usual.
- Feeling weak or fatigued: You may feel lethargic and extremely tired a lot of the time.
- Bone pain: If your cancer has spread to the bone, it can cause bone pain or a bone fracture.
- Swollen feet: Bladder cancer that has spread to your lymph nodes, for instance, could cause your feet to swell.
If the bladder cancer has spread to another part of your body, you could develop symptoms specific to that particular area. For example:
Once again, these symptoms could be due to something other than bladder cancer, so be sure to have your doctor check them out.
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Signs Of Bladder Cancer That You Shouldnt Ignore
Bladder cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat, and it has a reputation for being a silent killer. As with most cancers, awareness and early detection are critical in saving lives. According to Bladder Cancer Canada, about 120,000 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer this year alone. That being said, it is a deadly disease that everyone should watch out for.
In support of Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, here are 7 signs of bladder cancer that you shouldnt ignore.
Determining The Stage And Extent Of Your Cancer
Once your physician confirms you have cancer of the bladder, they might recommend additional testing to determine if the cancer has spread to other areas of your body, like your lymph nodes.
Testing might include:
The doctor will use the information from this testing to determine the stage of your cancer. The bladder cancer stages are indicated by a 0 to IV range of Roman numerals. The lowest cancer stages indicate it’s confined to your bladder’s inner layers and hasn’t begun affecting your muscular bladder wall. Stage IV, the highest stage, indicates the cancer has begun spreading to distant organs and lymph nodes of your body.
The cancer stages system is continually evolving and becoming more complex with the improvement of cancer diagnosis and treatment. The stage of cancer you have will also determine which treatment will serve you best.
For more information on bladder cancer stages, please refer to the American Cancer Society website.
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What Is Bladder Cancer
The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower part of the abdomen that stores urine to be passed out of the body. The most common form of bladder cancer starts in cells within the innermost tissue layer of the bladder. When cancer in the lining of the bladder spreads to nearby organs and lymph nodes, it is considered invasive.
Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men and the eighth most common cancer in women. About 80,000 people in the United States are estimated to be diagnosed annually.
What Causes Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is the tenth most common form of cancer. Each year, it affects over 70,000 Americans and many more worldwide. But what causes bladder cancer, and who is at risk?
The bladder is a muscular, balloon-like organ located in the pelvis. It connects to the kidneys via two long tubes called ureters, which deliver urine to the bladder for storage. When the bladder is full, it releases this urine through another tube called the urethra.
The bladder, ureters, urethra and some other pelvic organs are lined with cells called urothelial cells. Also known as transitional cells, they play a role in immunity and cell-to-cell communication. These cells are the most common site for bladder cancer to develop.
Urothelial carcinomas make up the vast majority of bladder cancer cases. Less common types include squamous-cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. Small-cell carcinomas and sarcomas are rare.
Now, lets take a look at some causes of bladder cancer.
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Types Of Bladder Cancer
Once diagnosed, bladder cancer can be classified by how far it has spread.
If the cancerous cells are contained inside the lining of the bladder, doctors describe it as non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This is the most common type of bladder cancer, accounting for 7 out of 10 cases. Most people don’t die as a result of this type of bladder cancer.
When the cancerous cells spread beyond the lining, into the surrounding muscles of the bladder, it’s referred to as muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This is less common, but has a higher chance of spreading to other parts of the body and can be fatal.
If bladder cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s known as locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.
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How Common Is Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is the tenth most common cancer worldwide1. On a global basis, approximately 1 in 100 men and 1 in 400 women will develop bladder cancer during their lifetime2. Rates of the disease vary by region, the highest occurring in North America and Europe. In the United States, where bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer type diagnosed, it is estimated that approximately 81,000 new cases and 18,000 related deaths occur annually.3
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself
About half of all people with bladder cancer have early-stage cancer thats relatively easy to treat. But bladder cancer often comes back . People whove had bladder cancer will need regular checkups after treatment. Being vigilant about follow-up care is one thing you can do to take care of yourself. Here are some other suggestions from the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network include:
- Follow a heart-healthy diet: Plan menus that include skinless poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Focus on high-fiber foods: Bladder cancer treatment may cause digestive issues and a fiber-rich diet may help.
- Get some exercise: Gentle exercise may help manage stress.
- Connect with others: Bladder cancer often comes back. Its not easy to have a rare disease thats likely to return. Connecting with people who understand what youre going through may help.
Some people with bladder cancer need surgery that removes their bladder and their bodies natural reservoir for pee. There are three types of urinary diversion surgeries. All three types involve surgically converting part of your intestine to become a passage tube for pee or a reservoir for storing pee.
Urinary diversion may be a challenging lifestyle change. If youll need urinary diversion surgery, ask your healthcare provider to explain each surgery types advantages and disadvantages. That way, youll know what to expect and how to take care of yourself.
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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