The insidious and dangerous bladder cancer, in more than 80% of cases gives a precise symptom of alarm: here’s what it is
Like all cancers, bladder cancer also consists of the transformation of the cells lining the internal surface of the organ. At the level of spread, this tumor represents 3% of the total and in the field of urology it is second only to that of the prostate. The age in which we need to pay more attention is between 60 and 70 years and, moreover, it is three times more frequent in men than in women. But here is a warning signpresent in most cases.
When you receive a cancer diagnosis, worst-case scenarios immediately pop into your mind, and it’s really hard to be positive and hopeful. In Italy, however, five-year survival is 80%, even if the risk of recurrence is very high. However, as in all diseases, timing is of the essence and for this reason it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle, undergo periodic check-ups and learn to grasp all the signals of the body, so as to identify any problems in time. So here’s what the hallmark and premonitory sign of bladder cancer is.
Bladder cancer: the main risk factors
Beyond the lifestyle and habits, as we have already said, there is a precise age group and a gender which are more likely to develop bladder cancer: these are the men between 60 and 70 years old, which therefore have to undergo more frequent checks especially in these delicate years. In reality, then, the main risk factor is cigarette smoking and subsequent chronic exposure to aromatic amines and nistrosamines. However, the intake of specific drugs such as ifosfamide or cyclophosphamide or infection with parasites can also be a contributing cause.
As with everything related to health, then, diet also plays a central role: Consuming a lot of fried food and plenty of fat are two behaviors associated with a greater risk of malignant bladder cancer. In the end, also the genetic component has its value: those who have cases of bladder cancer in the family should check themselves more punctually and frequently.
Symptoms of bladder cancer
Unfortunately, there are no specific symptoms and specific that appear only and exclusively in the case of bladder cancer and therefore immediately cause alarm in this sense. Most of the sensations caused by this disease are common to many urinary tract disorders and, for this reason, they can often be taken lightly. One of them is the burning sensation in the bladder when you pee, as well as pain to urinate and difficulty in doing so: these symptoms are very similar to those of cystitis.
In reality, however, there is one symptom that affects 80% to 90% of bladder cancer cases and it is the presence of blood in the urine. If, when you go to the bathroom, you notice that your urine does not have the straw yellow color it should have and at the same time you feel pain and burning when urinating, do not underestimate these sensations and see your doctor right awayespecially if you are between 60 and 70 years old.
All types of bladder cancer
Of course, there is not just one form of malignant bladder cancer. The most frequent, affecting 95% of patients, is the transitional cell carcinoma. Much less frequent but also noteworthy is the primary squamous cell carcinoma e l’adenocarcinoma. In most cases, bladder cancer appears on the side walls of this organ and looks like small growths.
Prevention and diagnosis
As we have already anticipated, although age and genetic predisposition play an important role in the possibility of developing bladder cancer, there are behaviors that can ward off this risk. First, it’s good quit smoking immediately and adopt a healthy lifestyle: this involves the possible loss of excess weight, constant physical activity and periodic check-ups.
In the event that you notice traces of blood in the urine or any other strange and unusual symptom, it is advisable to go to your trusted doctor who, after evaluating the whole situation, will prescribe ultrasound and cytoscopy.
This last exam consists in introducing an optical fiber instrument into the bladder via the urinary tract: although it is rather annoying, it is essential to do so in order to be able to see inside the organ and take tissue samples to be sent to the laboratory. After these tests, they will probably also be prescribed CT, PET and bone scintigraphyuseful to prevent the possible extension of the tumor to other organs, unfortunately not so remote possibility.
Bladder cancer treatment
In the event that any tests confirm bladder cancer, treatment is started immediately. The first approach can be surgical, by means of transurethral resection if the tumor is small or with partial or total cystectomy, which consists in the removal of the organ. A very useful curative approach especially to reduce the risk of relapses is the intravesical treatment with bacillus Calmette-Guerin, which is deposited directly into the bladder on cancerous lesions. Finally, they are also valid and useful in the case of bladder cancer chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapyoften applied in various combinations or following surgery.