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Bladder cancer in women: What it’s best to know

April 14, 2023 – Did you already know that one in 91 women will develop bladder cancer during their lifetime?

Recently Chinese Research found that girls with the disease have a worse prognosis than men, possibly because bladder cancer is usually diagnosed at a later stage in women.

Read on to learn what it's best to know concerning the bladder in women.

An overview

Survival rates for bladder cancer in women could also be lower because women are sometimes diagnosed at a later stage, said Joaquim Bellmunt, MD, PhDDirector of the Bladder Cancer Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

The National Cancer Institute reports that essentially the most common style of bladder cancer in ladies and men Urothelial carcinomawhich begins within the innermost a part of the bladder. Although Research shows that white women are twice as more likely to develop bladder cancer, while black women with bladder cancer often have essentially the most advanced and aggressive tumors, in line with data from the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.

One of the challenges that would explain why women have a more severe course of the disease is that they're often mistakenly considered to be easy Urinary tract infection.

“For some women, symptoms can resemble those of a urinary tract infection,” Bellmunt said. “Women can be treated for a urinary tract infection, their symptoms improve, but then return.”

If you experience symptoms reminiscent of dark or orange urine, burning when urinating, frequent urination, and bleeding after menopause, it's best to consider seeing a health care provider.

What increases a girl's risk of developing bladder cancer?

According to the researchers, several risk aspects probably play a job.

“Smoking, certain industrial chemicals, arsenic in some drinking water, being over 55 or not drinking enough water are risk factors,” said William L. Dahut, MD, the chief scientific officer of the American Cancer Society. It is believed that the more water you drink, the more toxins and potential carcinogens you flush out of your body.

Smoking particularly is a big risk factor for bladder cancer.

“Toxins in cigarettes and other chemicals are excreted in urine, and these carcinogens have prolonged contact with the bladder before they are finally released,” said Emily K. FieldMD, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Commack, NY.

But “smoking is not the only cause of bladder cancer,” says Bellmunt. “Only about 50% of the patients we treat have smoked in the past.”

Regarding chemical pollution, aromatic aminesthat's, many dyes utilized in the textile industry can increase a girl's risk if she works with them. There are also concerns that hair coloring could possibly be a possible risk factor.

But currently “there is no clear link between hair dyes and bladder cancer,” said Bellmunt.

Family history may play a job. study presented on the Annual Congress 2023 of the European Society of Urology found that a urine test can potentially predict 10 gene mutations as much as 12 years before bladder cancer diagnosis.

What are the symptoms of bladder cancer in women?

Some additional symptoms may include:

  • Blood within the urine (hematuria), which could also be vibrant red or cola-colored
  • Pain when urinating
  • Back pain

“Although symptoms may be similar in men and women, their interpretation may vary,” Feld said. “In women, blood in the urine may be overlooked as a possible sign of bladder cancer because in many people there may be a far less serious explanation for it. Blood in the urine can be confused with uterine bleeding after menopause. If blood in the urine is attributed to a urinary tract infection, it is important to perform a urine culture to confirm that an infection is indeed present.”

What treatment options can be found for ladies with bladder cancer?

Surgery is generally step one.

“Women with early-stage bladder cancer can be cured with surgery – known as TURBT, or transurethral resection of the bladder tumor,” Feld said. “This is followed by intravesical therapy, in which a drug called BCG is administered directly into the bladder. For women with muscle-invasive disease, which is a more advanced cancer but still confined to the bladder, a common treatment is to remove the bladder. During the procedure, pelvic lymph nodes and uterus and ovaries are also removed in postmenopausal women.”

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are also among the many predominant treatment methods. However, some cutting-edge treatment methods are also proving to be very effective.

“Many new treatments for advanced bladder cancer have been developed in recent years that are used either after chemotherapy or sometimes instead of chemotherapy,” Feld said. One of those therapies, called immunotherapy, works by allowing the immune system to acknowledge and attack cancer cells. Pembrolizumab and avelumab are two immunotherapies referred to as checkpoint inhibitors which can be commonly utilized in advanced bladder cancer.”

New medications are also available.

In December, the FDA approved adstiladrin, a gene therapy for the treatment of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer that has progressed after standard therapy, according to Dahut.

“In addition, several drugs that focus on the immune system have received FDA approval for patients with advanced disease. Finally, erdafitinib was a targeted therapy that was approved several years ago for patients with advanced disease with a really specific tumor mutation,” he said.

Because early intervention is crucial, you should immediately alert your doctor to any symptoms that may indicate bladder cancer. The good news is that so many innovative treatment options mean more hope for patients at all stages of the disease.

“Since there are various recent therapies for bladder cancer, studies are currently underway through which existing therapies are combined and treatment is began earlier in the midst of the disease. The aim is to enhance the probabilities of survival for patients with advanced bladder cancer,” said Feld.