Spotting Bladder Cancer: 5 Things Women Need to Know
Prevention & Treatment While older women have a higher risk for being diagnosed with bladder cancer, women can be diagnosed with the disease at any age.
About 74,000 new cases of bladder cancer will be found in 2015.
The overlooked picture
While bladder cancer has long been linked to older men, nearly 25 percent of the new cases to be diagnosed this year will be in women.
As stated by the American Cancer Society, the rates of new cancers and cancer deaths have been dropping slightly in women. However, women are still more likely to be diagnosed with late stages of bladder cancer and have a worse prognosis than men at almost all stages of the disease. And despite Caucasians being twice as likely as African-Americans to be told they have bladder cancer, more aggressive tumors and late stages of the disease will be found in African-American women, who also have poorer outcomes.
"One of the most common signs of bladder cancer in women is blood in the urine."
According to the Urology Care Foundation, one of the most common signs of bladder cancer in women is blood in the urine. Unfortunately, many women associate this symptom with a period or sign of menopause and often do not tell their doctor. And while bleeding is linked to bladder cancer, some women may feel back pain or have burning, frequent or urgent urination.
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible as it could also be a sign of a urinary tract infection. Distinguishing between an infection and bladder cancer can sometimes be difficult—especially when the only sign is bleeding—and referral to an urologist may be needed.
While we don't know all of the causes of bladder cancer, there are five things we do know:
Bladder cancer can affect women at any age.
Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking raises your risk of bladder cancer.
Long-term exposure to chemicals used to make plastics, paints, textiles, leather and rubber may also cause bladder cancer.
Long-lasting bladder problems such as bladder stones and infections may raise the risk of bladder cancer.
Of any form of cancer, bladder cancer has the highest chance of returning—between 50-80 percent.
Remember, bladder cancer is often treatable if caught early, but prompt diagnosis is critical.