Greater Boston Urology Blog

May 2020: Bladder Cancer Awareness Month

Normally in May, we'd be promoting the following event along with our colleagues at the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN):

BCAN Presents the Greater Boston Urology Walk to End Bladder Cancer

Due to COVID-19, our Walk has been rescheduled for Saturday, August 29. But bladder cancer is such an important topic that we wanted to make sure we shared some important information this month.

Bladder Cancer Facts: Did You Know...

  • Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer. [Source: Healthline]
  • Men get bladder cancer 4x more often than women. [Source: American Cancer Society]
  • But women may be diagnosed when their disease is at a more advanced stage. [Source: Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network]
  • Bladder cancer occurs mainly in older people. About 9 out of 10 people with this cancer are over the age of 55. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 73. [Source: American Cancer Society]BCAN logo 1
  • Each year, over 81,000 people are diagnosed and over 17,000 people lose their lives to bladder cancer. [Source: American Cancer Society]
  • Blood in the urine is the most common clinical sign of bladder cancer, but it is important to note that blood in the urine can have other causes, such as urinary tract infection. This is why it's so important to speak with your doctor. [Source: Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network]
  • Smoking is the greatest risk factor. People who smoke get bladder cancer twice as often as non-smokers. [Source: Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network]
  • Race is another risk factor: Whites are more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than African Americans or Hispanic Americans. [Source: American Cancer Society]
  • Firefighters and other first responders are at an elevated risk for bladder cancer because of exposure to carcinogens. As the BCAN website explains, "The exact causes remain unknown, but risk factors for contracting bladder cancer include exposure to carcinogens in the environment.  Firefighters, other first responders, and workers in the rubber, chemical and leather industries are at risk, as are hairdressers, machinists, metal workers, painters, textile workers."
  • The five-year survival rates for people with stage 1 and stage 2 bladder cancer are 88% and 63% respectively. Early detection and treatment can save lives! [Source: Healthline]
In the video below, Dr. James Fitzgerald discusses bladder cancer symptoms and treatments.

In addition, check out BCAN's incredibly thorough Bladder Cancer & COVID-19 FAQ page, which covers important topics, including whether a bladder cancer diagnosis increases the risk of catching the novel coronavirus.

Bottom line: If you've been experiencing potential bladder cancer symptoms, such as blood in the urine, be sure to speak to a doctor, like one of our board-certified urologists.

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