Bladder cancer is a growing concern amongst oncologists both in the UK and around the developed world. However, the great news is that while cancer condition numbers may be on the rise, technology and treatments are making positive strides towards more effective treatment and care for bladder cancer patients.
Apart from any treatment or potential future cure, prevention and early diagnosis are the best predictors of successful treatment and eventual recovery. By ensuring that people know the common symptoms of bladder cancer and how to spot them, we can all take steps towards making appointments with our GP’s as soon as we notice symptoms and receive treatment in bladder cancer’s early stages.
Before we can delve into the signs of bladder cancer to look out for, we need to explore what bladder cancer actually is and how it manifests itself.
What is Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer is the 9th most common type of cancer which is characterised by uncontrolled tumour growth within the bladder or epithelial lining. When a cell is wrongly programmed to grow and multiply without limits, this results in what we see as a cancerous tumour. Usually, the body is able to correct these errors and dispose of faulty cells like these, however, tumours form when this system fails.
Diagnosis of bladder cancer is usually done via a cystoscopy carried out by an oncology expert who specialises in the bladder. This is when a sterilised tube with a very small camera attached is inserted into the bladder to look for growths. If any tumours are found, the doctor can then extract some of the growth’s tissue as a biopsy for further testing. Should the biopsy reveal that the tumour is, in fact, cancerous in nature; appropriate steps can be taken to begin treatment.
The UK’s NHS give a very readable introduction to bladder cancer which is worth referring to if you want to know more about the condition – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-bladder/Pages/Introduction.aspx
So What are the Symptoms to Look Out for?
Knowing the symptoms of bladder cancer is critical in making sure you get treatment in the condition’s early stages, increasing your chance of a full recovery. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:
• Blood or red/brown discolouration of the urine (sometimes not even visible to the human eye).
• Pain or a burning sensation during the process of urination.
• More frequent and/or more sudden urges to urinate.
• Abdominal/pelvic discomfort or pain.
As you can see, one of the main problems with identifying the signs of bladder cancer is that the symptoms are somewhat less noticeable or attention-grabbing than some other forms of cancer. This is condensed overview of the symptoms of bladder cancer, for a more in-depth description of the condition; you should explore the resources of an oncology expert who specialises in the treatment of bladder cancer – https://www.theloc.com/specialisms/bladder-cancer/
How Do I Help Prevent Bladder Cancer?
While there is never any way to guarantee that you do not develop a certain type of cancer, there are lifestyle changes you can make to decrease the likelihood of the onset of bladder cancer. As with most medical conditions, genetics play a significant role in determining how likely bladder cancer will develop in the body, something worth keeping in mind when we’re having a discussion of this nature.
The following lifestyle changes are reported by WebMD to help prevent bladder cancer:
• Making healthy changes to your diet, such as one low in cholesterol and fat, as well as eating more vegetables and fruit can help.
• Giving up smoking cigarettes decreases your chances of developing bladder cancer, as well as a number of other types of cancer.
• Exposure to harmful chemicals like arsenic, arylamines, and benzenes can increase your chance of developing bladder cancer, so try to avoid prolonged exposure.
By keeping in mind the signs, symptoms, and prevention measures associated with bladder cancer, hopefully more and more people can take action faster and seek treatment in the early stages of their potential bladder cancer condition.