July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month
Bladder cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that affect both men and women. The bladder, for the sake of those who may be unfamiliar to the term, is the part of the body that stores and releases the urine. It is located at the center of our lower abdomen. Since July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, it is only proper to inform people about this disease that is estimated to have taken 15, 580 lives this year.
A staggering 11,170 men and 4,410 women have succumbed to this disease, while 74,690 new cases have been added to the list of individuals with cancer. The good news is that more than 500,000 people in the United States are bladder cancer survivors. The rates have been stable in men and even dropping a bit over the years in women over the past years.
Who Usually Gets Bladder Cancer?
- Older people are the usual victims of bladder cancer, as nine out of ten people are aged 55 and over. The average age of patients upon being diagnosed with bladder cancer is 73.
- Men are at a higher risk of getting bladder cancer than women.
- White people are also two times more likely of developing the disease than blacks.
One of the most common symptoms of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, also known as hematuria. Other symptoms include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Bone pain and/or tenderness (this means the cancer has spread to the bone)
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Urgency in urination
- Weight Loss
Cigarette Smoking and Other Risk Factors
Cigarette smoking is one of the most notable risk factors. A cigarette smoker is three to four times more likely to develop bladder cancers than a person who has not smoked a day in his or her life. Around half of all bladder cancers in men and a few cases in men are believed to have been caused by cigarette smoking.
There is actually no known cause for bladder cancer, like many other cancer types. However, there are quite a few factors that can increase the chances of developing the disease.
- Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) at work. Occupations with such hazards include workers that handle dye, rubber, aluminum, and leather, as well as pesticide applicators, and truck drivers.
- There is a chemotherapy drug called cyclophosphamide that is known to increase cancer.
- Women who have undergone radiation therapy for cervical cancer treatment have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Chronic bladder infection may also lead to certain type of bladder cancer.
Treatment Options Available
In conventional medicine, the initial treatment is called a transurethral resection (TURBT), a process which involves removing the tumor from the patient’s bladder in order to provide details pertaining to the grade and stage of the cancerous tumor.
If it is a low-grade superficial tumor, the patient will undergo TURBT and will be given the option to have a single dose of chemotherapy medication for his or her bladder. This is to prevent any chance of the tumor recurring. Although low-grade bladder cancer tumors have a high likelihood of recurring, the chances of progression to more advanced stages are is very low.
On the other hand, if what a patient has is a high-grade T1 tumor, then he or she must know that these types of tumors have a very high chance of recurring and progressing. Such tumors require additional treatments that include the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin immunotherapy, which is a chemotherapy instillation in the bladder. Those who do not respond to the treatment may be treated through radical cystectomy.
There is also a cisplatin-based chemotherapy that is prescribed to patients whose bladder cancer cells have metastasized.
Holistic treatments for cancer are also gaining popularity among cancer patients in general because there are facilities that offer a combination of both conventional and alternative medicine as treatment. Their focus goes beyond the tumor but on targeting the actual cause and strengthening the body’s defenses against malignant tumor. The process is done in a private setting versus the clinical, white-sheets-white-walls feel of a hospital, which makes it quite appealing to cancer patients. To know more about holistic treatments for cancer, visit / today.