Bladder cancer symptoms are often not apparent until the disease has progressed to an advanced and sometimes fatal stage. This means that if you’re genetically susceptible to bladder cancer, you must be diligent about testing and early detection. To learn more about the risks of bladder cancer, its causes and its symptoms, keep reading.
Signs Associated With Bladder Cancer
The common bladder cancer symptoms that are visible to the naked eye include blood in the urine (which gives the urine a rusty-to-red appearance), painful urination or possibly frequent urination.
These symptoms, though almost always present in bladder cancer, are also always present in other urinary and bladder problems like urinary tract infections, prostate issues, prostrate infections, gall stones, cysts and more.
How Bladder Cancer is Diagnosed
The patient at the highest risk for developing bladder cancer is the one with a genetic predisposition for the disease, meaning one or more immediate family members or two or more extended family members have been previously diagnosed with the disease. If a person is at risk, he or she should consult a urologist regularly for cytology, a method used to detect the presence of the malignancy.
Another method used to detect bladder cancer is called cytoscopy. A cytoscopy is basically a small camera that’s inserted through the urethra and into the bladder. Once inserted, a urologist can view the interior of the bladder to check for lesions or tumors.
How Bladder Cancer is Treated
The method used to treat bladder cancer will often depend on the stage of the disease and what form it has taken. For example, a superficial tumor may be easily removed in surgery simply by shaving it off. In other cases, immunotherapy is used to treat tumors, while chemotherapy may be used with others.
However, tumors or lesions that are not considered superficial must be removed by removing all or part of the bladder. Some skilled surgeons can even construct a new bladder out of the remaining skin. This is done either in conjunction with or as an alternative to radiation and chemotherapy – often used to finish off any remnants of the cancer.
Are You At Risk for Developing Bladder Cancer?
Though genetic disposition is the most common factor in determining a patient’s risk for developing the disease, most urologists agree that environmental factors can play a huge part. For example, holding excessive amounts of toxins and carcinogens in the bladder can become a major cause of bladder cancer.
Born out of concern for these results, recent studies have shown that drinking more than 8 glasses of water in a day can dramatically reduce an individual’s risk for developing bladder cancer.
If you are at risk for developing bladder cancer, then you should take action before you see evidence of bladder cancer symptoms. Often, these outward signs are not present until the disease has advanced to a sometimes untreatable stage. So, if you have a strong family medical history that includes multiple instances of this malignancy, you should talk to your doctor and get tested.