Most people associate smoking with lung cancer, but it can cause many other health problems too, including bladder cancer. In fact, smoking is the number one cause of bladder cancer. If you smoke then you are more likely to be affected than ex-smokers or people who have never smoked at all.
Bladder cancer can go unnoticed because it doesn’t always cause symptoms at first. Even when it does start to cause problems, it can still be missed because the symptoms are so easily confused with other, less serious conditions. Many people ignore the symptoms of bladder cancer because they seem unimportant or wrongly assume that they have a minor issue such as a urine infection. Unfortunately, this means that they aren’t getting the treatment they need as quickly as they could, which can give the cancer a chance to grow larger or even to spread to other parts of the body.
Bladder cancer care in the UK is currently suffering from a lack of both research funding for new treatments and awareness of the condition. The symptoms of bladder cancer are often being missed or ignored because people don’t realise that they could be signs of a serious condition. Even when people do seek help, they are often being left waiting to start treatment for bladder cancer. A new campaign to raise awareness of the condition has now been launched by Fight Bladder Cancer (UK) to address these issues, with the Kelpies statue in Falkirk being specially lit up in orange to highlight the problem in Scotland. Although greater awareness is needed across the UK, the problem is particularly severe in Scotland, where the five year survival rate is just 34%, compared to 48% for the country as a whole.
Chemotherapy is often recommended as part of treatment for bladder cancer. Although the treatment can be given in several different ways, one of the most common options is intravesical chemotherapy. This means that the chemotherapy drugs will be given into your bladder through a catheter.