Whenever a person begins to experience and recognize his or her own symptoms of cancer, the signs can definitely create a lump in the throat at just the thought of a malignancy diagnosis and then the likely ensuing cancer treatments. This concern is even intensified at the prospect of cancer in the bladder.
Bladder cancer symptoms are very basic – blood in the urine and a sudden change in urination habits. So why, then, are so many instances of the disease going undiagnosed?
Approximately 54,300 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, and over 12,000 people die of the disease. It is the sixth most common cancer in the country. And though the five-year survival rate sits at an impressive 81 percent, the chances for full recovery are dramatically improved if the disease is caught early.
That’s the reason recognizing and diagnosing bladder cancer symptoms is crucial. So, if you’re interested in learning more about the signs of bladder cancer and potential causes of the disease, read on.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
Blood in the Urine: Blood in the urine is the single more important sign of bladder cancer. This symptom can also be associated with other diseases such as kidney cancer or gall stones, but is most common in bladder cancer.
Change in Urination Habits: Patients often complain of feeling an almost constant need to urinate, an urgency that’s accompanied by frequent urination. This can be a sign of bladder cancer, along with urinary incontinence.
Causes and Risk Factors Associated with Bladder Cancer
Smoking: Like many cancers, smoking tobacco products is a major cause. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop the disease. Among men, smoking is the cause of 50% of bladder cancer deaths. In women, that number drops to 30%.
The carcinogens in cigarettes make their way into the blood stream and finally through the bladder and into the urine, which is why they’re such a major cause of bladder cancer.
Occupational Exposure: Industrial chemicals known as aromatic amines, like beta-napthylamine and benzidine which are sometimes used in the dye industry, can be a contributing factor for bladder cancer.
Other industries that use organic chemicals can also put workers at an increased risk – for example, rubber makers, leather factories, textiles and paint and printing companies.
Race: Bladder cancer is twice as common in Caucasians than African Americans.
Age: Most of the people diagnosed with bladder cancer are in their late sixties. In fact, less than a percent of people diagnosed are under 40. Essentially, the chances for developing the disease increase with age.
Lifelong Bladder Issues: Patients who suffer from chronic bladder problems like urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, bladder stones, incontinence or other bladder issues could have a higher risk of developing the disease.
If you have been exposed to or belong to any of the above risk factors or categories, it’s critical that you understand and watch for bladder cancer symptoms like blood in the urine or sudden changes in your urination habits.