In 2016, about 18,000 women will be told they have bladder cancer. Your bladder is an organ in your pelvic area that holds urine. Most bladder cancers start in the cells that line the inside of the bladder.
One of the first signs of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (hematuria). Blood can either be seen with the naked eye (gross) or seen only under a microscope (microscopic). Many women ignore blood in their urine because they think it's normal in females. Other signs of bladder cancer are frequent or painful passing of urine, back pain, stomach pain and the feeling as if you need to go to the bathroom right away (urgency). Be sure to see a health care provider if you have any of these signs.
If you've been told you have bladder cancer, your health care team will talk with you about your treatment choices. Based on the stage of the cancer and other factors, your treatment could include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or other therapies.
What You Need to Know:
Bladder cancer is usually treatable, but finding it early is vital.
Bladder cancer can affect women at any age.
One of the most common signs of bladder cancer is blood in the urine.
Because early signs are often ignored, women have a higher chance of being told they have an advanced stage of bladder cancer than men.
Smoking is by far the greatest risk factor. Smokers get bladder cancer twice as often as non-smokers. Even ex-smokers are still at risk.
Bladder cancer symptoms may be the same as those of a bladder infection. If symptoms do not go away after you are done taking your antibiotics, follow up with your doctor to find out whether bladder cancer is present.
Not smoking, eating well and being active are lifestyle changes that can have positive effects on your bladder health.
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