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Urology Issues like Bladder Cancer More Common in Smokers

Posted by floriza in Urology

Florida urologists have conducted a study that shows bladder cancer to be more common in smokers. This is yet another health risk that smokers face. The prevalence of bladder cancer among smokers in the study was four times higher than in non-smokers. Earlier studies had shown a risk of three times higher. The risks appear to be equal for male and female smokers, but the risks for non-smoking men are higher than for non-smoking women.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in August 2011, determined that half of all cases of bladder cancers can be traced to smoking. Smokers are also more likely to die from bladder cancer than non-smokers. Researchers say that bladder cancer is the greatest cancer risk to smokers next to lung cancer. Nevertheless, many professionals in the field of urology are still unaware that the link between smoking and cancer is so direct. Patients are even less aware of the risks.

Detection and Treatment of Bladder Cancer

Detecting the cancer as early as possible can save lives. Before the cancer cells have grown beyond the bladder, it is easier to treat. Thirty-five percent of people with the disease are diagnosed after the cancer has spread into the deeper layers of the bladder. Fifteen percent of people with the disease are diagnosed after the cancer has spread into the cells outside of the bladder. The American Cancer Society recommends that smokers are regularly screened for bladder cancer.

Symptoms include blood in the urine, although early signs may involve drops of blood that cannot be easily seen by the naked eye. A urinalysis can detect any signs of blood in the urine. Of course, blood in the urine does not necessarily spell cancer. There are other less threatening problems that can cause bleeding.

Treatment for bladder cancer usually includes surgery to remove tumors followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments to try to ensure that all cancer cells have been eradicated. Chemotherapy is also sometimes prescribed prior to surgery.

In severe cases, the bladder itself must be removed, in which case urine must then flow in some other way. Traditionally, urine flow has been redirected into a bag that is worn outside the body. Today, a surgical procedure that removes a small portion of the intestine and turns it into a bladder can often be performed. The newly created bladder requires significant care from the patient and urologist in order to function properly, however.

Bladder Cancer Statistics

According to the American Cancer Society, bladder cancer is more common in Caucasians than in African Americans and Hispanics. Just under 70,000 cases are estimated in 2011 with nearly 15,000 deaths resulting from the disease. The majority of people with the disease are older than age 55. For men, bladder cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer.

Facilities practicing urology in New Jersey and elsewhere provide screenings for bladder cancer and other problems of the urinary tract.


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