What Causes Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer is the fourth most common malignancy in the United States and is also considered one of the 10 deadliest cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates for 2017 that about 60,490 new cases of this cancer will be diagnosed in men.
Men are about 3 to 4 times more at risk of developing bladder cancer with the average age of diagnosis at 73 years. According to the American Cancer Society, the disease is uncommon before the age of 60. Caucasian men have double the risk of getting this cancer compared to African Americans.
Pinpointing the exact cause of any cancer is difficult as cancers are caused by varying combinations of genetic and environmental factors. Scientists however, are just beginning to understand some of the risk factors which may cause bladder cancer. They include the following:
Smokers inhale toxins absorbed into the bloodstream and are then excreted by the kidneys into the urine. When urine sits in the bladder waiting to be expelled, the bladder lining is subjected to the carcinogens increasing the risk of bladder cancer.
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer may increase risk for bladder cancer
chemicals used in textile, rubber, leather, dye, paint, and print industries may increase the risk
More than 70 percent of people with bladder cancer are older than 65 years of age
Chronic bladder problems – bladder stones, infections and people who are paralyzed from the waist down who’ve had many urinary infections
Symptoms of bladder cancer include:
·Blood in the urine – also known as hematuria, this is one of the first signs of bladder cancer.
·Changes in urination – increased frequency, pain, and a feeling of urination urgency.
·Lower back pain
·Pelvic pain – might include spasms and discomfort in the pelvic area or groin
·Unexplained swelling in the lower extremities
·Chronic bladder inflammation, urinary stones or chronic urinary tract infections
If bladder cancer is suspected, the doctor will conduct a cystoscopic procedure which removes a small piece of bladder tissue to be examined. A doctor may also decide to conduct a cystoscopy.