Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men in the U.S. It is less common in women. An estimated 70,530 new cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in 2010.
Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of bladder cancer. Other risk factors include exposure to certain types of chemicals, organic solvents, hair dyes, rubber. These are occupational risks that expose patients to these agents. Second hand smoke is also a risk factor.
- Blood in the urine ( patients may see it themselves or detected microscopically)
- Painful urination
- Frequency, burning of urination
Bladder cancer is diagnosed with a procedure called cystoscopy (a fiberoptic scope is passed into the bladder) which is performed in the office.
- Transurethral resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT): performed in the hospital and the tumor is removed completely through a scope
- Radical Cystectomy: complete removal of the bladder and an artificial bladder or pouch is created
- Chemotherapy (Intravesical): weekly instillation of agents to decrease risk or recurrence or progression of bladder cancer
Chemotherapy (systemic): this is reserved for patients who have advanced bladder cancer or cancer that has spread to other internal organs
Bladder cancers have a high incidence of recurrence. There are two kinds of bladder cancers, superficial and invasive. Superficial cancers, although less aggressive have a 60-80% chance of coming back and need to be monitored.
There are urine tests that can detect bladder cancer before they become aggressive. This along with routine cystoscopies every 3 to 6 months are important for monitoring recurrence.
Quit Smoking. Research shows that when smoker quit, their bladder cancer risk declines in two to four years.
Nutrition: increased intake of foods such as fruits and vegetables and reduction of animal fat
Supplementation with vitamins and antioxidants are helpful: high doses of vitamin A, B6, C, E, and zinc