Saturday, December 4, 2021

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What you need to know about Bladder Cancer

The 2020 World Health Organization has bladder cancer ranked as the 10th most common cancer in the world. In previous years, it hovered around 6th or 7th but the 2020 statistics could easily be influenced by delayed diagnosis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has delayed cancer diagnoses across the board.

Bladder cancer is a common cancer diagnosis, yet according to the latest survey, most people had never heard of bladder cancer until they were diagnosed with it. Since so many have not heard of bladder cancer, many do not seek medical assistance early on, which leads to later stage diagnosis and less positive prognosis. 

Bladder cancer is found in men four times as often as in women, but the prognosis for women is most often lethal. Approximately 21% of bladder cancer patients were initially misdiagnosed. 17% of men were initially misdiagnosed; whereas an astounding 28% of women received an incorrect diagnosis in the beginning. 

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Other symptoms include, but are not limited to, frequent or increased urination throughout the day; urgent need to urinate even without a full bladder; difficulty urinating; pain and/or burning before, during and/or after urination; lower back and abdominal pain; increasing, chronic fatigue and/or weakness; swollen feet; decreased appetite; unintended weight loss; and bone pain. Some even experience painful bladder spasms. 

Bladder cancer is often misconstrued as UTIs, bladder infections, and bladder stones. In men, the symptoms can mimic various prostate conditions. Women are often mistakenly misdiagnosed with a prolapsed bladder or ovarian or uterine cancer. 

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that from 2014-2018 South Dakota had an annual rate of 19.9 bladder cancer diagnoses. The South Dakota Indigenous population comprised 8.7% of all cancer patients. Unfortunately, much of the South Dakota data for bladder cancer has been specifically suppressed according to the NCI website, Dewey & Ziebach counties included. 

Overall, bladder cancer is generally a very treatable disease with positive outcomes when it is caught early. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms above without a previous diagnosis, please see a urologist right away. 

For more information on bladder cancer, you can go to or 

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