July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time when advocates are able to focus attention on raising awareness among the general public about bladder cancer, including risks, signs and symptoms associated with this disease. The goal is to encourage more people to seek an early diagnosis and obtain treatment that is necessary to their well-being and survival.
Although not a lot of attention is given to bladder cancer, as compared to many other types of cancer, statistics from the National Cancer Institute reveal bladder cancer to be one of the 12 most frequently diagnosed cancer types. Every year:
74,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed
16,000 people die from the disease.
In fact, it is expected that, at some point during the course of their lives, bladder cancer will impact:
In recognition of July being Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to provide a brief overview of bladder cancer and encourage people to undergo screenings. As delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis is extremely common with bladder cancer, the faster you go in for screenings, the sooner you will know whether cancer is present.
If you do have bladder cancer, early screenings can significantly increase your likelihood of being able to begin treatment before the cancer reaches a more-advanced stage.
While nobody wants to be diagnosed with bladder cancer, the possibility exists that you or those you love could get it or any number of diseases.
When certain factors are present, it may increase the risk of you getting bladder cancer, so it is import to make yourself aware of these risks and take action to eliminate those risk factors which can be changed.
The risk factors for bladder cancer include:
- Exposure to certain chemicals and other toxins in the workplace
- Race and ethnicity
- Age and gender (older adults typically are more affected)
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Kidney or bladder stones
- Bladder catheters left in too long and other sources of irritation
- Personal history of bladder or urothelial cancer
- Genetics and family history
- Bladder birth defects
- Long-term chemotherapy or radiation treatments to the pelvis
- Certain medicines and dietary supplements
- Arsenic in drinking water
- Not consuming enough fluids so as to rid your body of harmful toxins.
Signs and Symptoms
Confirming a bladder cancer diagnosis requires you to undergo a series of tests and screenings conducted by qualified medical professionals.
However, detecting signs and symptoms of bladder cancer can be done in the early stages at home.
If you have any of the following signs or symptoms, talk with your physician about the possibility of bladder cancer and get any necessary tests done.
Of course, not all of these signs or symptoms will lead to a bladder cancer diagnosis. Still, each one is serious in its own right and should be checked out:
- Blood in your urine (could make your urine turn orange, pink or red in color)
- Having the urge to urinate more frequently, or feeling as if you have to go urgently, even at times when the bladder may not be full
- Pain or burning during urination
- Inability to urinate
- Pain on one side of the lower back
- Sudden loss of appetite and weight loss
- Swelling in the feet
- Pain in your bones.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Obtaining a bladder cancer diagnosis at the earliest possible stage is crucial. The American Cancer Society indicates survival rates among bladder cancer patients are substantially higher when the cancer is detected early-on, or before it has been able to spread. When diagnosed at different stages, the five-year survival rates of bladder cancer patients are:
Treatment often depends on the stage to which the bladder cancer may have advanced prior to detection. The sooner you are diagnosed, the more options you will have available to you for treatment. Some of the most common bladder cancer treatments are:
Surgery – To remove the cancerous cells
Intravesical therapy – A liquid cancer drug is delivered directly into the bladder through a catheter
Chemotherapy – Drugs are given in an effort to shrink tumors or kill any cancer cells that remain following surgery or other treatments
Radiation therapy – High-energy radiation treatments are given to kill off cancer cells.
While a patient’s failure to take earlier action can cause the delay of proper diagnosis and treatment, mistakes made by medical professionals may also be to blame in instances of delayed diagnosis.
- A doctor erroneously identifying bladder cancer as a urinary tract infection or neglecting to follow up after tests
- A urologist misreading test results
- A technician failing to correctly biopsy the area.
These are all examples or mistakes which could cause you injury or harm as a result of a delayed diagnosis.
If you believe your delayed bladder cancer diagnosis was a result of medical errors or negligence in Albany, Syracuse or anywhere else in the state of New York, it is vital you seek legal representation at once.
Contact Powers & Santola, LLP, to discuss your legal options and find out how our firm can help.
Sources / More Information
- Calendar of Cancer Awareness Months, Choose Hope
- Common Cancer Types, Cancer.gov
- Diseases and Conditions: Bladder Cancer, Mayo Clinic
- What Are the Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer? American Cancer Society
- Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer, Cancer.org
- Survival Rates for Bladder Cancer by Stage, American Cancer Society