WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - While smoking is commonly linked to lung cancer, it is also the leading cause of bladder cancer.
"The most common, smoking or tobacco use," says Dr. Dana Point, a board-certified urologist with the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Physician Group-Atlantic Urology.
Bladder cancer is 10 times more likely to show up in men than women, according to the American Cancer Society. Smokers are more than twice as likely to get bladder cancer as non-smokers.
Bladder cancer occurs more often in older people. Most people are diagnosed over the age of 55. The average age of diagnosis is 73.
Bladder cancer symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Lower back pain on one side of the body
Dr. Point says once a patient is diagnosed with bladder cancer, treatment typically starts with a resection of the tumor.
"That's usually done with a resectoscope," says Dr. Point. "It's a specialized scope and we go in and shave the tumor off and cauterize the tissue to prevent bleeding."
Doctors can then determine how to stage the cancer.
Stage 0a or non-invasive bladder cancer means the cancer has been caught early. These cancers are typically cured with treatment.
Stage 4 bladder cancer is the most advanced. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is five percent.
Cystoscope is the main diagnostic procedure although urine tests using molecular analysis can be done to help find bladder cancer.
As we do the first Monday of every month, we, along with our sponsors at NHRMC, are offering you one of our Plaid Packs. They contain important information about different types of cancer, including skin cancer. Click here to visit the Plaid Pack page for more information.