As far as being the ‘elephant in the room’ goes, Bladder cancer wins this title hands down. And it’s rather surprising that it’s rarely spoken about since its incidence rate is significant.
With so many zipped up lips regarding bladder cancer, most people are unaware of the immense impact it can have. So here are the ABC’s of bladder cancer that you should know:
1) Bladder cancer is more common than kidney or liver cancer. It’s the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer among men, who are diagnosed with bladder cancer three times more often than women. Although bladder cancer doesn’t attract much media attention, in 2012 over 55,000 men were diagnosed with the disease and 10,500 men died. There are over 520,000 living bladder cancer survivors in the United States.
2) Doctors don’t yet understand the exact causes of bladder cancer, but they do know smoking is the greatest risk factor. Smokers are twice as likely to get the disease as non-smokers.
3) The most common symptom is blood in the urine. Anyone presenting with this symptom should be checked by a doctor to figure out the underlying cause.
4) Bladder cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat on a per patient basis. It’s estimated that almost $3.98 billion is spent in the United States each year on the treatment of bladder cancer. Since bladder cancer has a recurrence rate of 50-80%, it requires lifelong surveillance, which raises the cost of treatment dramatically.
5) Compared to other cancers, bladder cancer research is not as well funded. In 2011, bladder cancer was the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer among men, but ranked 22nd in funding received from the National Cancer Institute.
For more information about bladder cancer please visit www.bcan.org. The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase public awareness about bladder cancer, advance bladder cancer research, and provide educational and support services for the bladder cancer community.