By Michael Russell
Bladder cancer is not the most common form of cancer, although it can be as deadly as other cancers. Bladder cancer is not a hormone-linked cancer such as breast, ovarian, prostate, or colon cancers. In addition, there is no evidence to support the idea that bladder cancer is inherited; it simply does not run in families. So what seems to be the root cause of bladder cancer? Bladder cancer would appear to be, from the available evidence, a cancer caused by carcinogenic compounds absorbed from outside the body. Bladder cancer is a cancer caused by environmental pollutants, whether they are lifestyle related, such as smoking, or chemicals in the workplace like benzidine.
Smoking is one of the most obvious risk factors that can contribute to bladder cancer. What’s worse, by the time bladder cancer starts to appear, the patient has likely been smoking for what may amount to decades. The ongoing deposit of carcinogens in the lungs and through the lungs into the blood stream has been considerable.
Bladder cancer rates tend to be higher among men than women, in addition, the rates are higher among men in the age of 50 years old and up. Smoking men in the over 50-age group have the highest rates of bladder cancer. Also working in an environment where certain carcinogenic chemicals are used seems to contribute as a risk factor.
The most common symptoms of bladder cancer are blood in the urine, very frequent urination, or a pressure to urinate, only to find that you can’t urinate. Any of these symptoms could have other causes, but certainly are worthy of a visit to a doctor. Bladder cancer is one cancer where early detection can result in a much less severe treatment option.
Basically there are two types of bladder cancer, a very superficial cancer on the lining of the bladder and a deeper cancer that has penetrated well into the tissues of the bladder. The more superficial cancer on the surface of the bladder lining can develop into the deeper cancer if left untreated. This is why it is important to respond to symptoms such as painful urination or blood in the urine and seek treatment.
The approach to dealing with these forms of bladder cancer can vary from burning off or cauterizing a superficial cancer; to removing part, or all, of the bladder in the case of a deeply rooted cancer. In addition, chemotherapy and radiation therapy have proven useful in dealing with bladder cancer. In the case of chemotherapy, a number of drugs are used. With radiation therapy, a radioactive dispenser can be installed in the bladder to give appropriate dosages of radiation to counter the cancer.
Obviously if the patient wants to avoid a reoccurence of the cancer, lifestyle changes may be in order. If the patient is a smoker, then trying to find a strategy to quit smoking would helpful. If the cancer seems to be provoked by a chemical in the workplace, then avoiding this chemical may be a good idea. Unfortunately, up to 30 percent of bladder cancers occur without any obvious environmental causes. Some people have suggested that chlorine in the water supply may be the culprit. A water filtration system, some of which can be reasonable in cost, would serve well here.
Whether your interest in bladder cancer is based on a desire to identify and understand a cancer risk, or if you are interested because of more personal reasons, there are a few basic concepts to keep in mind. As with any cancer, early detection is essential in terms of chances of survival. In addition, try to identify and minimize risk factors. With this approach, the odds of success are in your favor.
Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Bladder Cancer
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