May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month
Bladder cancer is the 6th most common cancer in America
Don't Go Red. Go To a Doctor.
One of the main barriers surrounding diagnosis are the symptoms. The similarity to the effects of a UTI, the discovery of blood in our urine and the fact that these happen in intimate areas of our body mean that often we are too embarrassed to talk about them or seek a professional opinion.
The vast majority of things we’re embarrassed about are harmless, these symptoms, however, might not be.
It’s a strong single minded campaign thought: Don’t feel embarrassed by these symptoms or talking about them. Act on them.
Bladder Cancer Risk Factors
Smoking is the most important risk factor for bladder cancer. People who smoke are at least 3 times as likely to get bladder cancer as people who don’t. Smoking causes about half of all bladder cancers.
Certain medicines or herbal supplements.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), use of the diabetes medicine pioglitazone (Actos®) is linked with an increased risk of bladder cancer. The risk seems to get higher when higher doses are used.
Dietary supplements containing aristolochic acid (mainly in herbs from the Aristolochia family) have been linked with an increased risk of urothelial cancers, including bladder cancer.
Chronic bladder irritation and infections
Urinary infections, kidney and bladder stones, bladder catheters left in place a long time, and other causes of chronic (ongoing) bladder irritation have been linked to bladder cancer (especially squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder). But it’s not clear if they actually cause bladder cancer.
Arsenic in drinking water
Arsenic in drinking water has been linked with a higher risk of bladder cancer in some parts of the world. The chance of being exposed to arsenic depends on where you live and whether you get your water from a well or from a public water system that meets the standards for low arsenic content. For most Americans, drinking water isn’t a major source of arsenic.
Certain industrial chemicals have been linked with bladder cancer. Chemicals called aromatic amines, such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine, which are sometimes used in the dye industry, can cause bladder cancer.
Workers in other industries that use certain organic chemicals also may have a higher risk of bladder cancer. Industries carrying higher risks include makers of rubber, leather, textiles, and paint products as well as printing companies. Other workers with an increased risk of developing bladder cancer include painters, machinists, printers, hairdressers (probably because of heavy exposure to hair dyes), and truck drivers (likely because of exposure to diesel fumes).
Not drinking enough fluids
People who drink a lot of fluids, especially water, each day tend to have lower rates of bladder cancer. This might be because they empty their bladders more often, which could keep chemicals from lingering in their bladder.
Race, Age, and Gender
Whites are about twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as African Americans and Hispanics. Asian Americans and American Indians have slightly lower rates of bladder cancer.
The risk of bladder cancer increases with age. About 9 out of 10 people with bladder cancer are older than 55.
Bladder cancer is much more common in men than in women.
Can Bladder Cancer Be Found Early?
Bladder cancer can sometimes be found early — when it’s small and hasn’t spread beyond the bladder. Finding it early improves your chances that treatment will work.
No screening tests are recommended for people at average risk, but bladder cancer can be found early because it causes blood in the urine or other urinary symptoms. Many of these symptoms often have less serious causes, but it’s important to have them checked right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.