The important symptoms of bladder cancer to remember
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Nearly 5,000 people pass away from bladder cancer each year in the UK. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can begin, which could extend your life. Lower back pain could be a sign the cancer has advanced.
The American Cancer Society listed the early symptoms of the disease which include:
- Being unable to urinate
- Lower back pain on one side
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Feeling tired or weak
- Swelling in the feet
- Bone pain.
Bladder cancer can cause lower back pain when it reaches a more advanced form of the disease.
The pain is typically only on one side of the back, but it can be centrally located.
Lower back pain might occur once the tumours increase in size or cancer cells start to spread to other parts of your body.
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Currently, survival rates for kidney and bladder cancer in England show that fewer women than men live for five years after diagnosis.
This may be because family doctors tend to attribute women’s – rather than men’s – initial symptoms to harmless causes, such as bacterial infections, and some women therefore have to visit their GP several times before they get referred to a specialist, noted researchers in a new study.
The researchers looked at the numbers of patients diagnosed with kidney and bladder cancers in England between 2009 and 2010.
Women were around twice as likely as men to have visited their GP on three or more occasions before they were referred to a specialist, the analysis showed.
If you have symptoms, a test can be performed by your GP to find out if there is any blood in a sample of your urine.
If there is blood present, your healthcare professional will make sure there is no obvious reason for this such as an infection.
A urologist may be recommended if there is no cause for the blood.
If tests or symptoms suggest you could have bladder cancer, you should be seen by a specialist within two weeks.
A cystoscopy enables early cancerous growths to be cut off at the stem, known as a transurethral resection of a bladder tumour (TURBT).
Following a discovery of bladder cancer, cystoscopies will take place every three to four months to remove any other tumours that may occur.
Anti-cancer drugs may be offered at this stage to minimise the risk of the cancer returning.
These include chemotherapy and/or a vaccine called BCG (bacille Calmette-Guérin), which triggers the immune system to attack cancer cells.
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