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Health A to Z

Blood in Urine? It Could Be Bladder Cancer

Dr Varsha Bhashyakarla

Bladder cancer is the 4th most common cancer in men and the 8th most common cancer in women in India.

Bladder cancer is the 4th most common cancer in men and the 8th most common cancer in women in India. 97% of the patients present with painless blood in the urine, and individuals are usually diagnosed in the early stages of the disease. 

Risk Factors

  • Smoking is the most important and known causative of bladder cancer
  • Chemical exposure (water containing arsenic, dyes-aromatic amines, chloroanilines), chemotherapy(cyclophosphamide) and radiation
  • Urinary blood fluke Infections
  • Certain medications(high doses of pioglitazone) and herbal supplements
  • Not hydrating enough, Eating processed meat regularly
  • Race and Ethnicity-Caucasians are more likely to develop Cancers of the bladder
  • Age- 9 out of 10 individuals are over the age of 55
  • Chronic urothelial lining irritation- from frequent UTIs, stones, long term bladder catheters, etc
  • Cancers in other parts of the Urinary tract
  • Birth anomalies of the bladder like Patent Urachus, Exstrophy of the bladder 
  • Inherited conditions- Cowden’s disease, Retinoblastoma, Lynch Syndrome

Symptoms & signs

Blood in the urine

Pink, orange, red or blood tinged urine can be noticed. Usually blood in the urine may not be found but detected incidentally in Urine Analysis tests, so it is important to get your urine checked regularly.

Change in bladder habits

  • Having to urinate more often than usual
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Feeling as if you need to go right away, even when your bladder isn’t full
  • Having trouble urinating or having a weak urine stream
  • Having to get up to urinate many times during the night

Types of cancers

  • Urothelial carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma

Who treats bladder cancer?

Urologists, Medical and Radiation Oncologists would guide you with the entire process.

Treatment & management

Early-stage bladder cancers can most often be removed. There is a good chance of recurrence, hence follow up is mandatory. Radical Cystectomy can alternatively be done to avoid this.

Surgery along with a combination of medical therapy is usually the mainstay of treatment and would vary based on the staging of the disease.

Prognosis & prevention

While different cancers have varied prognosis, bladder cancer when detected early has up to 95% 5 years survival rate.

Preventive measures

  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting exposure to chemicals and radiation
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Consuming abundant fruits and vegetables

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