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Can Bladder Cancer Be Prevented? 5 Strategies & 3 Treatments

Can Bladder Cancer Be Prevented?
Bladder cancer often goes undetected in its early stages. Recognizing the symptoms of urinary problems may save your life.

There is no guaranteed strategy to prevent bladder cancer. Some risk factors, such as age, gender, ethnicity, and family history, are nonmodifiable. However, you can do certain things to reduce the risk of bladder cancer. These include avoiding certain environmental triggers and adopting positive lifestyle changes.

A risk factor is something that increases your chances of contracting cancer. Some risk factors, such as smoking or obesity, may be altered.

However, having one or more risk factors does not guarantee that you will get the illness. Many people with risk factors never get bladder cancer, and others who develop the illness may have a few or no recognized risk factors.

5 strategies to prevent bladder cancer

Some risk factors that cause bladder cancer are modifiable, such as:

  1. Quit smoking
    • Smoking is one of the major risk factors for bladder cancer and was estimated that half of all bladder cancers are due to smoking. Quitting using tobacco in any form can reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
    • The risk of bladder cancers due to tobacco use is increased by:
      • Smoking: 33 percent.
      • Cigars: 23 percent.
      • Pipes: 17 percent.
      • Chewing tobacco: 9 percent.
  2. Increase water consumption
    • Evidence suggests that consuming plenty of fluids, mostly water, may reduce the risk of bladder cancer. Toxins are accumulated in the bladder and must be filtered out of the blood by the kidneys.
    • Long-term exposure to these toxic chemicals can cause cancer in the bladder's inner lining. Thus, drink enough water to dilute the toxins in the urine.
  3. Do not hold your pee
    • You must strictly avoid holding your pee. Treat your bladder with care, and empty it frequently.
    • The concentrated pee irritates the bladder lining and eventually, leads to muscular distension surrounding the bladder. This distention makes normal control and urination difficult over time. These bladder deficiencies can result in several pelvic dysfunctions, including incontinence, bladder and kidney infections, pelvic muscle rips, and cancer.
  4. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in the diet
    • Researchers have reported that a high-fiber diet may help protect against bladder cancer, whereas other studies have not found this to be true. 
    • Nonetheless, a balanced diet has been found to offer several advantages, including decreasing the risk of some forms of cancer.
  5. Lower the exposure to chemicals that cause cancer
    • Workers in companies that use specific organic compounds are more likely to get bladder cancer. These compounds are often used in the rubber, leather, printing materials, textiles, and paint industries. If you operate in an environment where you may be exposed to hazardous substances, make sure to use proper work safety procedures.
    • Some chemicals present in some hair colors may pose a risk, therefore hairdressers and barbers who are routinely exposed to these products must use them cautiously. Some studies have indicated that personal use of hair dyes does not raise the risk of bladder cancer.

What are the warning signs of bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer often goes undetected in its early stages. Recognizing the symptoms of urinary problems may save your life.

Symptoms of bladder cancer are usually absent in the early stages. Hematuria (blood in the urine that could be visible or detected with the help of a microscope) could be the first warning sign.

Other less common bladder cancer symptoms include:

  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Frequent urination or the desire to pee without success
  • Urine flow that is slow or intermittent
  • Pelvic discomfort

However, these possible warning signals may suggest other medical issues, such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or prostate difficulties. The doctor or urologist can determine the cause of discomfort and do a comprehensive assessment to establish the origin of any new symptoms.

3 treatment options for bladder cancer

Once the staging and extent of development of the bladder cancer are well established, you will be provided with various treatment options suitable for your condition.

  1. Surgery: Radical cystectomy is the surgical removal of the entire bladder and the most effective treatment recommended when cancer invades the bladder muscle wall. The surgeon will use a part of the small intestine to form a tube that joins the ureters and connects the kidneys to a hole in the abdominal wall during this surgery (stoma). The urine continuously flows through the opening.
  2. Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy is generally reserved for those who are considered unfit for surgery or when the bladder tumor is localized to a small section of the bladder.
  3. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is usually administered before surgery or radiotherapy to shrink cancer. However, chemotherapy alone does not provide any significant results in advanced bladder cancer.

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