Bladder Cancer Prognosis
In 2013, an estimated 75,500 people were diagnosed with bladder cancer. Some of those were type 2 diabetes patients who took Actos. While getting a bladder cancer diagnosis is typically not a death sentence, it is a type of cancer that must be treated swiftly and accurately.
Overall, the prognosis, or the likely course, of bladder cancer is good. Nearly 78 percent of those diagnosed with bladder cancer survive more than five years past the initial diagnosis. Researchers have pointed to chemical exposure, smoking and genetics as the leading causes of bladder cancer. According to a 2011 study, taking Actos, also called pioglitazone, for longer than 12 months increases the risk for bladder cancer by 40 percent.
Diagnosing Bladder Cancer
From the beginning, bladder cancer is a complex disease. Often, patients don’t realize they have it because the symptoms can be hard to identify. For patients with recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) or bloody urine, it’s hard to tell if it’s just another bladder infection or something worse. When trying to determine if a patient has bladder cancer there are several common tests used:
- Blood and Urine Tests -- When examining blood and urine samples, doctors look for specific markers that will indicate the presence of cancer.
- Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) -- In this test, doctors are able to see abnormalities in the urinary system with X-ray technology. This uses a contrast agent that is injected into a vein and an X-ray machine to visualize the agent traveling throught the urinary system.
- Imaging Tests -- If a closer look is needed, doctors use imaging tests that include CT scans and MRIs for a better view.
When these tests don’t prove conclusive or a doctor wants a closer examination of the bladder, patients will be moved on to further testing.
Bladder Cancer Testing
The most common way doctors get a better look at the questionable bladder cells is to do more invasive procedures:
- Cystoscopy -- Using a narrow tube that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra, doctors can take a look at the inner lining of the bladder. If needed, a small tissue sample, called a biopsy, is removed for further laboratory testing.
- Surgery -- In some cases, doctors will perform a minor surgerical procedure to remove tissue samples for biopsy.
Once a positive diagnosis has been determined, doctors will determine the stage of the disease. With that, the best treatment plan will be decided.
Ways to Improve Your Survival Rate
The best way for patients to improve their survival rates is to ensure they get proper testing and treatment. In some cases, patients who are in a worried rush to get treatment don’t get the best medical care. Our skilled patient advocates (PAs) can help you find the best bladder cancer doctors in your area and keep you up to date regarding the latest clinical trials and advanced treatments.
Mayo Clinic. Bladder Cancer Tests and Diagnosis. Retrieved from ww.mayoclinic.com/health/bladder-cancer/DS00177/DSECTION=tests-and-diagnosis
National Cancer Institute. SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Bladder Cancer. Retrieved from http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/urinb.html