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JUL 3rd 2014

Let\'s Talk About Bladder Cancer

JUL 3rd 2014
Let\'s Talk About Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is one of those diseases that no one wants to talk about.

However, July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to start the conversation. So let’s talk. Here’s an overview of the key statistics about bladder cancer and symptoms you should know.

Bladder Cancer Numbers
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 74,690 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with bladder cancer this year, and, about 500,000 Americans alive today have had bladder cancer at some point.

Most bladder cancer patients are older – the average age of diagnosis is 73 years-old. Nine in 10 people who contract bladder cancer are over 55 years-old. Men are more likely to get the disease than women – the lifetime chance for a man to be diagnosed is about 1 in 26, while a woman’s chance is only 1 in 90.

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in males. (Read here to learn more about the 3 most common types of cancer in men.)

Bladder Cancer Facts
The ACS provides an overview of the basic type of bladder cancer. The most common variety is transitional cell (urothelial carcinoma), a type of cancer cell that invades the urothelial cells on the wall of the bladder. Nine out of 10 cases of bladder cancer are transitional cell carcinomas (TCC).

Bladder cancers are categorized based on how far they have penetrated the bladder wall: non-invasive bladder cancers have not yet reached the deeper cells in the muscle wall, while invasive cancers grow deep into the muscle layer. Invasive cancers are faster-spreading and more difficult to treat.

Non-transitional cell bladder cancers are much less frequent than TCC cancers. They include squamous cell carcinomas, small cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas and sarcomas. They are treated similarly to TCC, but may require different types of chemotherapy drugs. You can learn more about these rarer and other types of bladder cancer here.

Bladder Cancer Symptoms
You may not always be able to tell you have bladder cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should visit your doctor if you have any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Blood in your urine. The urine may look bright red, dark yellow or the color of cola or cider. Bladder cancer patients do not always have visible blood in their urine – a test may show microscopic amounts of blood.
  • Frequent or painful urination.
  • A sore back.
  • A sore pelvis.

If you think something may be wrong, make sure you talk to your doctor right away.  Remember – July is a great time to start talking about bladder cancer. Don’t be shy. You could save your own life.

To learn more about the facts and symptoms of bladder cancer, you can also visit the American Bladder Cancer Society. And, for articles and tips that can help you prevent cancer, click here.

(Image via Cancer Gifts.)