Bladder Health Week: Facts about Foleys & Bladder Cancer

Today is the start of National Bladder Health week! To support bladder health and awareness we will be here all week publishing more information than you could EVER want on your bladder health. This will include tips for avoiding UTIs, daily factoids and today’s facts about Bladder Cancer.

We are also having a Raffle where subscribers to our blog can win an AMAZON KINDLE FIRE! Subscribe today for your chance to win!

But back to bladder cancer – Bladder cancer is the 4th most common cancer in men and the most expensive cancer in the US, with costs over $1B in 2000. In 2009, nearly 71,000 Americans were diagnosed with bladder cancer, and 74.4 percent of them were men. The American Cancer Society reports that among American men that same year, the number of bladder cancer deaths outpaced testicular cancer deaths by nearly 27-fold.

There are a number of known risk factors for developing bladder cancer including smoking, exposure to certain chemicals, bladder birth defects and long term catheterization. Family history also has a role to play.

Long term indwelling catheter use has been consistently established to have a detrimental impact on the health of community dwelling men and women. There are an estimated 30 million indwelling catheters placed each year, most during short term hospital stays. However, thousands of men and women in the US today are living with a permanent indwelling urinary catheter.  Estimates indicate that 21-31% of indwelling catheters in hospitals are placed in men with no urinary outlet obstruction – it’s done for convenience!

Although over 90% of bladder cancers in the general population are transitional cell carcinomas, those using long term indwelling catheters are significantly more likely to develop a comparatively rare form of bladder cancer know as squamous cell carcinomas which has a higher mortality rate. SCCs make up less than 5% of all bladder cancers and are predominantly discovered at later stages. Moreover, SCCs do NOT respond to chemotherapy. As many as 10% of individuals who use an indwelling catheter for 10 years or more will develop squamous cell carcinoma bladder cancer.

So what symptoms might suggest you need to talk to your Doctor about bladder cancer?

Well, if you have a family history of bladder cancer, tell your doctor! Family history is a predictor of A LOT of medical conditions and that information can help your doctor ask the right questions.

According to WebMD, here are some of the most common symptoms of Bladder Cancer in Men:

In its early stages, bladder cancer may not have obvious symptoms. In the later stages, symptoms of bladder cancer may include: Bloody urine, most often painless. The urine color ranges from faintly rusty to deep red, sometimes containing blood clots. Blood traces, invisible to the naked eye, may show up in tests of urine samples. Frequent urinary tract infections, painful urination, a need to urinate often, and difficulty holding in urine, weight loss or appetite loss and fever.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Blood or blood clots in the urine (hematuria). Hematuria occurs in 8 or 9 out of 10 people who have bladder cancer and is the most common symptom. Usually it is not painful.
  • Pain during urination (dysuria).
  • Urinating small amounts frequently.
  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Symptoms that may indicate more advanced bladder cancer include:

  • Pain in the lower back around the kidneys
  • Swelling in the lower legs.
  • A growth in the pelvis near the bladder (pelvic mass).

Other symptoms that may develop when bladder cancer has spread include:

  • Weight loss.
  • Bone pain or pain in the rectal, anal, or pelvic area.
  • Anemia.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of bladder cancer may be similar to symptoms of other bladder conditions so it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your bladder health.

But when in doubt, don’t smoke and avoid long term catheterization! If you do have to manage incontinence, use the healthiest option available – Men’s Liberty! Because it’s a completely external device there is no pain or irritation to the bladder.