Approximately 204 Americans are diagnosed every day with bladder cancer. July is recognized as National Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, and Arizona Oncology would like to remind all men and women to speak with their healthcare providers about the signs and symptoms, as well as screenings, for the disease. By finding cancer early, treatment is more effective.
According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that nearly 75,000 new bladder cancer cases are expected this year, and more than 15,000 people will lose their lives to the disease. Knowing the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer can aid in early detection and increase the opportunity for survival. Symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine
- Frequent urination
- Feeling the need to urinate, but not being able to
For people with certain risk factors, screening should begin earlier or repeated more frequently. While the exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown, risk factors for the disease include:
- Smoking – smoking is the greatest risk factor for bladder cancer. Chemicals from tobacco can enter the blood stream, through the lungs, and are filtered by the liver and collect in the bladder. These chemicals damage the cells that line the inside bladder wall.
- Work exposure – some professions are more susceptible to harmful chemicals. These occupations include: dye makers, hairdressers, truck drivers, machinists, printers, painters, leather workers and rubber manufacturers.
- Race – Caucasians are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as African Americans or Hispanics.
- Gender – men develop bladder cancer four times as often as women.
- Age – the risk of developing bladder cancer increases with age.
- Family history – the chance of developing bladder cancer rises when immediate family members have or had the disease.
- Chronic bladder inflammation – urinary infections, kidney stones and bladder stones do not cause cancer, but they are linked to the disease.
- Arsenic – this chemical in drinking water is linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer.
- Inadequate liquid intake – people who drink plenty of liquids each day have a lower risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Bladder birth defects – very rarely, a connection between the belly button and the bladder doesn’t disappear as it should before birth and can become cancerous. There is another very rare birth defect called exstrophy, which can also lead to bladder cancer.
- Earlier Treatment – some drugs or radiation used to treat other cancers can increase the risk of bladder cancer.
“We play a major role in the battle against bladder cancer in Arizona by providing easy access to a full range of advanced cancer care services,” said Peter Mathern, M.D., medical oncologist with Arizona Oncology. “Our medical and radiation oncologists and their staff provide chemotherapy, injections, infusion services, radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging services in a setting that allows patients to remain close to their homes and their support network of family and friends. As a result, patients access the best possible treatment with the least amount of disruption to their daily lives.”
As a member of The US Oncology Network, one of the nation’s largest networks of integrated community-based oncology practices dedicated to advancing high-quality, evidence-based cancer care, Arizona Oncology is able to enhance patient access to the latest advances in therapies, clinical research and technology to patients in the community.