Bladder cancer forms when abnormal cells in the bladder begin to divide and grow beyond their regularly defined boundaries. This often occurs within the inner layers of the bladder, which can make it very difficult to detect the cancer. The symptoms of bladder cancer are very similar to that of a urinary tract infection, which adds further difficulties to achieving an accurate diagnosis.
There are 75,000 new cases of bladder cancer expected to be diagnosed in the United States this year. Even with modern treatment methods, about 15,000 people will lose their battle with cancer this year as well. That’s why every July, Bladder Cancer Awareness Month brings a greater community awareness to the problem.
1 in 42 People Are Diagnosed with Bladder Cancer in the US
In the United States, bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer that is found in patients. Men are much more likely to develop bladder cancer, however, as their risks are 3x higher when compared to women. Most women don’t receive a diagnosis until the cancer reaches a later stage and are more likely to have advanced tumors when diagnosed, which means the fatality rates for women are much higher compared to men.
The 10 year survival rate for men is equal to the 5 year survival rate for men. When it comes to a lifetime chance of diagnosis, 1 in 26 men and 1 in 90 women will receive this diagnosis at some point in their lives. Caucasians are 2x more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than other ethnicities.
What makes bladder cancer such a dangerous diagnosis is the fact that it has a very high recurrence rate. At least half of the people who have their bladder cancer go into remission will have it recur. In some years, the recurrence rate can reach as high as 80%. That’s why Bladder Cancer Awareness Month is so important. Once a diagnosis is received, patients are required to have a lifetime of surveillance and this makes bladder cancer the most expensive to treat.
Nearly $4 billion is spent to treat bladder cancer in the United States every year. In comparison, the National Cancer Institute averages $23 million in spending on research into bladder cancer and more effective treatment options.
More Than 500,000 Americans Are Bladder Cancer Survivors
The good news is that with more awareness of bladder cancer, the rates of new cancer diagnosis and cancer deaths have been dropping over the past decade. Incidence rates for men especially have been decreasing and women have seen a dip in deaths attributed to the cancer.
90% of the people diagnosed with bladder cancer are over the age of 55. The average age of diagnosis is remarkable at 73. Only 4% of those diagnosed with bladder cancer, however, have had the abnormal cells begin to spread to distance sites. About half of all cases that are discovered have the cancer still confined to the inner layer of the bladder.
Are You Ready to Fight Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancers causes 4.5% of all new cancer cases, but only contributes to 2.7% of all cancer deaths in the United States every year. When the cancer is confined to the inner layers of the bladder only, the 5 year survival rate is nearly 96% in the general population.
There are 5 different types of bladder cancer that may develop. July is the perfect month to learn about these different types of cancer, including the rare types like adenocarcinomas, so that the signs and symptoms of this very treatment, but stubborn disease can be recognized. 3 out of 4 bladder cancer cases are superficial in nature, but there is always a risk to the kidneys and other close organs that may cause problematic health issues.
If blood is discovered in the urine or there is unusual lower abdominal pain and unexpected weight loss, then a medical provider will offer a variety of tests to determine if there could be cancer present. Every July, a greater awareness to this sometimes hidden health hazard is offered, but bladder cancer can strike at any time throughout the year.
It is a stubborn cancer. It is a common cancer. It may affect men more often, but it tends to be much more serious in women. By understanding the facts about this disease today, Bladder Cancer Awareness Month can become a powerful tool that could potentially save someone’s life.