Symptoms and Risks of Bladder Cancer

There are two primary bladder cancer symptoms - a drastic change in urination habits or patterns, and blood in the urine. Unfortunately, many instances of this potentially deadly disease are still unrecognized in people's lives.

Every year, over 54,000 cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in America. And annually, over 12,000 people die from it. While the five-year survival rate is doing well at over 80%, that number could be higher if more instances of the disease were noticed and addressed early.

This is why understanding and detecting the symptoms is so critical. To learn more about the different symptoms associated with the disease, along with possible risk factors - keep reading.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Bloody Urine: The primary symptom is blood in the urine. While bloody urine can often be an indicator of other bladder problems (kidney cancer, kidney stones, bladder infections), it's almost always exhibited in patients diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Urination Patterns: Most people diagnosed complain of a frequent urge to pee, possible urinary incontinence and difficulty making it through the night without having to use the bathroom multiple times. Unfortunately, most patients with bladder cancer are older and don't recognize this symptom as a potential indicator of a more serious problem.

Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer

Smoking: Like many cancers, smoking tobacco products is a major cause. In fact, smokers are twice as likely to develop the disease. Among men, smoking is the cause of 50% of bladder cancer deaths. In women, that number drops to 30%.

The carcinogens in cigarettes make their way into the blood stream and finally through the bladder and into the urine, which is why they're such a major cause of bladder cancer.

Occupational Exposure: Industrial chemicals known as aromatic amines, like beta-napthylamine and benzidine which are sometimes used in the dye industry, can be a contributing factor for bladder cancer.

Other organic chemicals, like those used in rubber plants, leather manufacturers, fabrics and textiles and printing firms, are also a higher risk factor for the disease.

Race: Bladder cancer is typically more common in Caucasians than other races.

Age: The risk for developing it increases with age. The average age for those diagnosed with the disease is around 68 years. Meanwhile, less than 1% of bladder cancer patients are age 39 and under.

Chronic Bladder Problems: Patients who have a long-term history of kidney stones, urinary infections, bladder stones or other forms of chronic bladder irritation may be at an increased risk for developing it.

If you have been exposed to or belong to any of the above risk factors or categories, it's critical that you understand and watch for bladder cancer symptoms like blood in the urine or sudden changes in your urination habits.

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