Bladder cancer is becoming increasingly frequent: in Italy there are 25,000 new cases per year, of which 20,000 are men and 5,000 women. In men, the maximum incidence of development is from the age of 55-60, but this tumor can occur even earlier.
What are the risk factors for this neoplasm? As Dr. Massimo Lazzeri, urologist at Humanitas, explains, the main risk factors are of two types: one consists of a constitutional and genetic type, and therefore not modifiable, while the other is of an environmental type, on which it is therefore possible to intervene.
Environmental risk factors
The main environmental risk factors are cigarette smoke, contact with dyes, paints and rubbers and pollution of groundwater.
Smoking plays a major role in the onset of this tumor: “The male gender is affected five times more than the female gender and this is linked to risk factors for developing bladder cancer, i.e. habits, primarily that of smoking. As we know, men have smoked more than women and this partly explains a gender difference,” says Dr. Lazzeri.
An infiltrating and a non-infiltrating form
There are two forms of bladder cancer: a non-infiltrating form, which is of less concern, and an infiltrating form. Infiltrating forms can widen in the muscle, resulting in the involvement of ureters, renal blockage and therefore significant suffering.
Pay attention to blood in the urine
This tumor is very often silent and the first sign could be the appearance of blood in the urine.
“In his presence, it is recommended to visit the urologist because the blood in the urine could be the first sign of a bladder neoplasm. Other signs to watch out for are annoyances such as bladder pain and a sudden increase in urinary frequency that does not resolve with antibiotic treatment.
Diagnosis is made by means of a urine test and ultrasound.