What are the Risks and Signs for Bladder Cancer?

The American Cancer Society estimates that there were 82,290 new cases of bladder cancer in the U.S. in 2023 alone. The cause of bladder cancer in most cases is unknown, but there are many risk factors that have been linked to the debilitating disease. 

Bladder cancer symptoms are similar to other urinary tract conditions, with blood in the urine acting as the main indicator of the disease. Frequent urination, painful urination and pain in the lower back may indicate the disease’s presence. 

Smoking is believed to cause half of all bladder cancer diagnoses in men and one out of four diagnoses in women. A poor diet can also increase this risk, as well as lower fluid consumption. Individuals are encouraged to incorporate more fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants into their diet, cut out smoking and monitor their fluid consumption, with a clear focus on water.  

Risk of bladder cancer increases with age. Most people diagnosed with bladder cancer are older than 55, with men more likely to be diagnosed than women. Bladder cancer is likely to develop in individuals that have overcome the disease or those with a family history of cancer. Certain cancer drugs and pelvic cancer treatments have also been connected to an increased risk of bladder cancer, alongside Chronic Bladder Inflammation. 

Exposure to high levels of carcinogens has also been found to increase the risk of bladder cancer. Chemical compounds have been estimated to cause 20-25% of bladder cancer cases. Professions that work around harmful chemicals include, but aren’t limited to, truck drivers, textile workers, chemical industries, leather industries, hairdressers, machinists, metal workers, printers, rubber industries, painters and firefighters. 

Treatment options for bladder cancer include:

Transurethral Resection (TUR) – Removal of the tumor from the bladder with a cystoscope.
Intravesical Therapy – The placement of liquid medication directly into the bladder to help destroy and prevent cancer cell formation.
Chemotherapy – The use of intravenous medication to destroy cancer cells.
Radiation Therapy – Strategically targeted beams of energy used to destroy cancer cells.
Cystectomy – The surgical removal of the bladder.

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