Approximately 70 to 80% of patients diagnosed with bladder cancer will present with superficial tumors, which, in general, have a better prognosis. The chances of cure are higher in low-grade cases and in which there was no involvement of deeper layers of the bladder, such as the musculature. On the other hand, if the neoplasm shows more aggressive characteristics, such as high nuclear grade, muscle invasion, lymph node involvement, or if the patient already has distant metastases, the chances of cure become smaller.
Remember that survival rates are simply based on outcomes from large population groups that have had the disease and have been followed up over time, but they cannot predict what will happen individually. Even because many other factors are involved in the patient’s prognosis, including associated health problems, lifestyle habits such as smoking and how well your body responds to treatment modalities. Your doctor will be able to help you interpret the numbers and tailor the answers to your case.
Bladder cancer patients classically present with non-painful, intermittent (periods of improvement and worsening) hematuria (bleeding in the urine). Pain in the lower abdomen, a feeling of urinary urgency, and pain on urination may also be present. The diagnosis is often delayed, as these symptoms are easily confused with those of other benign pathologies of the urinary tract, such as infection and kidney stones. And these diagnostic delays certainly worsen the patient’s prognosis by giving the disease more time to advance.
Thus, the most effective way to eradicate the problem at an early stage is to emphasize the importance of early diagnosis. In the face of typical symptoms and, especially, if the patient has associated risk factors, such as a family history of bladder cancer, smoking or occupational exposure to certain chemical agents, for example, clinical investigation should be continued. In general, imaging methods can give clues about the diagnosis, however, the most important exam is cystoscopy, which allows the urologist to see the inside of the bladder and, still, provides chances of biopsies for histological confirmation.
The disease itself, in general, does not interfere with man’s virility. However, treatment, especially when it involves extensive surgery with concomitant removal of the prostate and/or seminal vesicles, or when radiotherapy is required in certain areas, can result in sexual dysfunction. This is because it increases the chances of injuring the nerves responsible for the penile erection process. In addition, during a possible chemotherapy treatment, it is normal for a loss of desire to occur, as well as an indisposition to perform the sexual act. Talk to your doctor about this concern and he will be able to detail your case, exposing in more detail the costs and benefits of the indicated procedures.
In fact, bladder cancer manifests with much the same symptoms and signs as a urinary tract infection. There is no evidence that repeat infections lead to cancer. But the idea that some researchers advocate is that certain patients treated as having frequent infections actually have bladder cancer. Furthermore, the mere presence of the tumor in the bladder increases the probability of bacterial proliferation; thus, the two situations can coexist. And the message that remains is the following: in the face of persistent symptoms, do not underestimate this diagnosis. It can be the foundation of everything.
When smoking, toxic substances are eliminated with the urine and attack the inner walls of the bladder. Smoking is one of the main causes of this type of cancer.