Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men. It’s estimated that about 59,000 men are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year, as of 2016. Unlike some other cancers like that of the prostate, which tends to be more genetically caused, bladder cancer can be preventable. However, if not treated early, bladder cancer can easily spread to lymph nodes of the pelvis, abdomen or even the neck.
Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer
There are risk factors for bladder cancer that can be avoided, and some that cannot. Risk factors include:
- Family history
- Age (most men are diagnosed over the age of 70)
- Exposure to certain chemicals, such as those in dyes, paint and textiles
- Being a white male
Age and smoking are actually the two biggest risk factors of bladder cancer. Quitting smoking alone can decrease your chances of getting bladder cancer, along with other medical issues and cancers, tremendously. The biggest cause of bladder cancer is your body being exposed to various chemicals that can’t be properly filtered out through your kidney. This is true for the chemicals in cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco as well as being exposed to other chemicals such as those in the print or textile industry for people working near dyes and paint.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
Symptoms of bladder cancer include:
- Blood in urine
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Back and pelvic pain
The most common symptom is blood in urine. Most of these symptoms can also indicate a urinary tract infection and other urinary disorders, therefore it’s important to talk with your urologist about all symptoms you are having.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Bladder Cancer in Lafayette, LA
If you experience these symptoms and have multiple risk factors, chances are your urologist will conduct a test. Some general tests include a urine analysis and biopsy. In some cases, the doctor will conduct a cystoscopy (inserting a tube with a camera into your bladder), or imaging tests. However, imaging tests are usually done once bladder cancer is confirmed and staging needs to be determined.
Treatment for bladder cancer, once confirmed, will most likely be surgery. Whether it’s surgery to just remove the tumor, or to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue depends on the staging of bladder cancer. This surgery is called a cystectomy. In some extreme cases, the entire bladder needs to be removed. However if caught early enough, immunotherapy or radiation therapy options may be available.