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Bladder Cancer Awareness

Meals to Heal wants to support the increased recognition and awareness of bladder cancer in the month of May.  This year it is estimated that there will be a total of 74,690 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed overall. Currently more than 500,000 people in the United States are bladder cancer survivors.

In what population is bladder cancer more prevalent?
Bladder cancer usually occurs in older people. About 9 out of 10 of people with bladder cancer are over the age of 55. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 73. Men are about 3 to 4 times more likely to get bladder cancer during their lifetime than women. Actually, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer for men

What is bladder cancer?
The bladder is a hollow organ in the pelvis with flexible muscular walls that hold urine before it leaves the body. There are four main layers to the bladder and cancer cells can appear on any of the layers resulting in different kinds of cancer. The most common kind of bladder cancer is transitional cell carcinoma. This kind of cancer involves cells that line the inside of the bladder and can also affect the urinary tract.

What are the risk factors?
Smoking is the most important risk factor for bladder cancer. Smokers are three times more likely to get bladder cancer than non smokers. Workers in production industries such as rubber, leather, textiles, and paint products as well as printing companies are more at risk for bladder cancer due to certain chemicals used in the production processes. Race and ethnicity also play a part in bladder cancer risk – caucasians are about twice as likely to develop bladder cancer than African Americans. Chronic bladder irritation and infections can also increase risk for bladder cancer as well as a family history of the disease.

For more information visit the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network at http://www.bcan.org/


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