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Causes and Symptoms

Bladder cancer is a condition that affects the bladder. The bladder is part of the urinary system that comprises structures such as your kidneys, ureters and the urethra. The bladder stores urine after it is made in the kidneys and passed through the ureters.

When cells in the bladder grow uncontrollably, this leads to bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is caused by a combination of some known and unknown factors and can originate from various cell types in the bladder. Bladder cancer is one of the most common types of cancers in the United States affecting close to 70,000 adults each year.

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The Common Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

There are some signs and symptoms that can point towards bladder cancer. While these alone cannot be used to determine a final bladder cancer diagnosis, they can be useful in helping you examine yourself regularly and catch any anomalies early. If you have any of the listed symptoms, make an appointment immediately for further screening, especially if you fall within the bladder cancer age, which is over 40 years.

Bladder cancer signs and symptoms:

  • An abnormally frequent urge to urinate even when you have not taken in lots of fluids
  • Your urine changes color, either to red or any other color other than the usual yellow hue
  • You have a burning sensation when you urinate
  • You have challenges urinating, even when you are pressed

These signs and symptoms are usually an indication of early-stage bladder cancer but cannot indicate what the bladder cancer prognosis will be. Bladder cancer symptoms in women are similar to those in men so they should be approached as crosscutting.

Besides these, there are further signs and symptoms that typically are an indication that the bladder cancer has spread.

Advanced bladder cancer signs and symptoms include:

  • An inability to urinate even when you are pressed
  • Lower back pain
  • Involuntary loss of weight
  • Low appetite
  • Swollen feet
  • Deep tissue and bone pain
  • Lethargy and a general lack of energy throughout the day

It is important to note that while these signs and symptoms may point to bladder cancer, there are other conditions with similar signs and symptoms. Further screening is, therefore, necessary to get a final bladder cancer diagnosis. At this point, you’ve probably researched your symptoms online and come to a conclusion about your condition. Maybe you’ve entered queries like “where to get bladder cancer treatment near me” or “urological oncologist near me.” If this is you, Advanced Urology in Atlanta is here for you. Call Advanced Urology today at 678-344-8900 to learn more about treatment options and make an appointment.

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What Causes Bladder Cancer?

Like other cancers, bladder cancer causes are not fully known or understood. There are, however, linked factors that have been shown to increase the risk of getting the condition.

These factors include:

  • Smoking and use of other tobacco products
  • Exposure to certain chemical compounds known to penetrate the skin and affect cells
  • Exposure to radiation, either at work or when undergoing other cancer treatment
  • Chronic irritation affecting the bladder
  • Some types of parasitic infection (such as schistosomiasis)

These causes have been identified due to their ability to alter how cells work, both at a cellular level and at a DNA level. This cell alteration is what leads to the abnormal multiplication of cells that also refuse to die, which is the basis of how bladder cancer stages work.

Besides these causes, there are risk factors associated with bladder cancer.

These include:

  • Your race – If you are white then you have a naturally higher chance of getting bladder cancer than other races
  • Your gender – Bladder cancer in men is more prevalent than in women.
  • Genetics – If you have first degree relatives (sibling, parent or child) with bladder cancer you may also be at a higher risk
  • Lifestyle – The link between bladder cancer and smoking has been proven in multiple studies.
  • Location and traveling – Some countries outside the United States have parasites known to cause chronic bladder inflammation

When to See a Doctor in Atlanta, GA for Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer survival rate probabilities go up when there is early detection and diagnosis. If you catch bladder cancer early, the condition is usually very treatable with a favorable prognosis thereafter. As the bladder cancer ICD-10 code is earmarked as insurable, you can go for further screening if you suspect you may have the condition.

Before you do, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to know when to see an Atlanta doctor and if you will need bladder cancer surgery.

These include:

  • Lifestyle – Does your lifestyle elevate the risk of getting bladder cancer? These lifestyle habits include smoking and taking other recreational drugs that overwork the kidneys.
  • Exposure to chemicals – Are you frequently exposed to industrial chemicals at work?
  • Family history – Is there a history of bladder cancer in your family? Have any of your close relatives got it?
  • Travel – Have you traveled to countries outside North America?
  • Age – Are you over 40 years old?

Combining these questions with bladder cancer causes and risk factors can give you a good indication of whether now is the time to see a doctor.  If you are interested in self-examination and early detection, the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network is a support network that promotes these ideals by providing information and support networks. Other cancer support and awareness networks also promote early testing and detection through the cancer ribbon awareness symbol.