Bladder Cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the United States and it affects approximately 73,000 people every year. It is prevalent among older adults.  Today we are going to talk about the causes, signs and symptoms and treatments for bladder cancer.  Being aware of bladder cancer symptoms is the first step in early detection and effective treatment.  Maine-ly Elder Care has developed a list of symptoms as well as risks.   Symptoms of bladder cancer often are mistaken for just having a urinary tract infection.  The symptoms of bladder cancer are the same as a urinary tract infection which include:

  • Pain during urination-dysuria
  • Urinating frequently in small amounts
  • Frequent and recurring urinary tract infections
  • Blood in the urine-hematuria 
  • Pain in the back-flank pain

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor.

The exact cause of bladder cancer is uncertain, but there are things that can make you more likely to get bladder cancer, these include:

  • Smoking- smoking greatly increases the risk of developing bladder cancer.   Smoking doubles your risk of bladder cancer. 
  • Exposure to chemicals also increases your risk of developing bladder cancer.  Chemicals and substances such as dyes, paints and leather dust may cause bladder cancer. 
  • Being Older-your risk for bladder cancer goes up as you age.  Most people who get bladder cancer are close to their 70’s. 
  • A diet high in nitrates like meat and fatty foods. 

Bladder Cancer usually begins in the lining of the bladder and cancer cells may spread through the bladder into the muscular wall.  There are treatment options for bladder cancer which include:

  • Surgery to remove the cancer.  Surgery for treatment can be alone or in conjunction with other treatments.
  • Chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells with medicine.  Chemotherapy maybe used before or after surgery.
  • Radiation Therapy, this also destroys cancer cells using high dose x-rays, this too may be given before and after surgery.
  • Immunotherapy treatment, this treatment gets your immune system to attack cancer cells. 

There are side effects to be aware of after your treatments.  The most common side effects being the nausea, vomiting and exhaustion from chemotherapy. 

You can prevent bladder cancer, by quitting smoking, limiting exposure to harmful chemicals and eating a healthy diet.  Early detection is key to overcoming bladder cancer, so be aware of the symptoms and if you do experience symptoms, be sure to call your doctor early on. 

~Denise Stevens RN, CEO

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