John L. Keefe
July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. Over 73,000 cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed each year, making it the fourth-most common cancer in men and the ninth-most common cancer women. Risk factors for bladder cancer include:
- Being a smoker: When you smoke, you allow harmful chemicals to enter your body. Some of these chemicals pass to the urine and can damage the cells lining the bladder.
- Working with industrial chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals used in manufacturing has been found to increase the risk of bladder cancer.
- Previous cancer treatment: The anti-cancer drug Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) has been linked to bladder cancer. Radiation treatment of pelvic cancers may also increase bladder cancer risk.
- Taking certain diabetes medications: The diabetes drugs Actos (pioglitazone), Actoplus Met (pioglitazone and metformin), and Duetect (pioglitazone and glimepiride) have been linked to bladder cancer when taken for periods of a year or longer.
- Chronic bladder inflammation: Patients who suffer chronic bladder infections or repeated episodes of cystitis have a high risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Being over 40: Most of those diagnosed with bladder cancer are over age 55. The cancer is rare in those under age 40.
- Being male: Seventy-five percent of those diagnosed with bladder cancer are men. One out every 26 men will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in their lifetime. For women, the rate is one in 86.
- Being white: White Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer as African Americans.
- A personal or family history of cancer: You have an increased risk of bladder cancer if you or any of your immediate family members have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, Lynch syndrome (colorectal cancer), or a cancer of the colon, rectum, or ovaries.
Bladder cancer can be treated if it is detected early. The five-year survival rate for those with stage-0 bladder cancer is 98 percent.
Signs of bladder cancer include:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- Unusually frequent urination
- Pain or burning during urination
- Blood in the urine
If you have any of these signs of bladder cancer, make an appointment with your doctor. Try not to panic; these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, including kidney stones and infection.
Although bladder cancer is one the ten most common cancers in the US, it is ranked 22nd for research money. This means that treatment lags behind other cancers. Bladder cancer has the highest recurrence rate of all cancers in the US.
To learn about applying for SSDI with bladder cancer, read our article, “What You Need to Know about SSDI and Bladder Cancer,” or contact the Massachusetts disability benefit attorneys at Keefe Disability Law. Call us at 888-904-6847 to schedule a free case review.
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