In Italy every year there are 25 thousand new cases: 20 thousand men and 5 thousand women. Statistics show that bladder cancer is becoming increasingly common. There are two main risk factors: one is constitutional and genetic and therefore cannot be modified; the other is an environmental risk factor on which it is possible to intervene. We talk about this issue with Dr. Massimo Lazzeri, urologist at Humanitas.
Cigarette smoke, contact with dyes, paints and rubbers and pollution of groundwater are all risk factors for bladder cancer. One of the environmental factors most frequently involved in the development of this neoplasm is cigarette smoking.
“The male gender is affected five times more than the female gender and this is linked to risk factors to develop a bladder neoplasm, or habits, primarily that of smoking – said Lazzeri – As we know, the male gender smokes more than the female gender and this partly explains a gender difference in incidence.
Blood in the urine can be a warning sign
In men, the maximum peaks in bladder cancer incidence are from the age of 55-60 years, but it may occur even earlier. There are two forms: a so-called non-intrusive form, which causes less concern, and an infiltrating form. In the case of infiltrating forms, i.e. those that enlarge in the muscle, it is possible to have the involvement of ureters, a renal block and therefore a significant suffering.
“It is very often a silent tumor – the specialist has specified – The first sign is often the appearance of blood in the urine. In the presence of blood in urine, it is recommended to go to the urologist because the blood in the urine could be the first sign of a bladder neoplasm. Beside this, annoyances such as bladder pain and sudden increase in urinary frequency that does not pass with antibiotic treatment are further signs to pay attention to”.
The diagnosis makes use of urine examination and ultrasound scanning. If the tumor is at an early stage, it can be treated with appropriate solutions both in terms of organ preservation and quality of life.