Although not as mentioned in media such as lung, breast, prostate or ovarian cancer, bladder cancer is a deadly disease which affects thousands of people around the world. This type of cancer makes up 5% of all cancers in the USA compared to breast cancer which contributes to 12%. Additionally, 40-50% of people over 65 are suffering from skin cancer, while 1 in every 4 Americans is dealing with lung cancer.
Although bladder cancer doesn’t affect so many people, there are still more than 80 000 cases annually. Most of the symptoms are misdiagnosed, which makes the disease deadlier.
What is bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer occurs when the cells of the organ change and start behaving differently. Besides bladder cancer, changes in the organ may also cause urinary tract infections, kidney stones or benign tumors such as fibroma. There are 2 types of the disease – invasive bladder cancer, which occurs to the cells in the urothelium, and non-invasive bladder cancer, which occurs when the disease spreads to the bladder wall muscles and the connective tissues.
The usual treatments for bladder cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy. Although the symptoms are often misdiagnosed, you can and should recognize them as early as possible. Here are the main symptoms of bladder cancer:
Frequent urge to urinate
Blood in the urine
Pain during urination
Loss of appetite
Sudden weight loss
Swelling in the legs
Lumps in the pelvis
Pain in the rectum, anus and pelvic bones
Changes in bowel movements
How to prevent bladder cancer
Like with other diseases, it’s better to prevent it than treat it. Bladder disorders are related to risk factors such as age, being a Caucasian male or bladder-related birth defects. These risk factors can’t be changed, but there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
Drinking plenty of water every day is a must – keeping your body hydrated will stimulate the production of urinate and help the kidneys eliminate waste from the body.
If you’re a smoker, you should ditch the cigarettes as soon as you can. Smoking is a highly dangerous habit that can harm your health and raise the risk of numerous types of cancers.
Reduce your exposure to chemicals
If you want to keep yourself healthy, you need to drastically reduce your exposure to chemicals. Wear a face mask and protective clothing if you’re working in a hazardous environment, and start eating a healthy diet which doesn’t include processed foods.
Eat fruit and veggies
Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables every day will provide your body with fiber and antioxidants and keep your organs healthy. Fiber is important for our digestion and stimulates proper bowel movement, while the antioxidants can fight free radicals in the body which are often the main culprit for cancer.