The important symptoms of bladder cancer to remember
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Jack Lemmon lost his battle against cancer in the summer of 2001, at the age of 76, but which type of tumour did he suffer from? According to numerous reports, the award-winning actor – best known for starring in Some Like It Hot, alongside Marilyn Monroe – had bladder cancer. Across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, over 100,000 people are living with the disease, according to Action Bladder Cancer UK.
“There is very limited public awareness of the disease,” the charity states.
Around 25 percent of cases are reportedly diagnosed at a late stage, and with a mortality rate of 50 percent, the awareness of symptoms is paramount.
Three of the “most common symptoms” of bladder cancer to be aware of include:
- Blood in urine (even just once)
- Recurrent urinary infections
- Frequency, urgency, or pain on passing urine (when no infection is found by a doctor).
Expanding on the symptoms, the charity explains that blood in urine “is usually bright red”.
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However, on occasion, it could look “rusty or dark brown”, and you “may also see blood clots”.
Even if blood in the urine appears only once (when not having a menstrual period), it’s still advised to get checked out by a doctor.
The tiniest amount of blood in urine might not be visible to the naked eye, but there are urine tests available from the doctor that test for traces of blood.
While facing cancer can be a scary prospect, blood in urine could be a sign of other, much less serious health conditions, which require treatment.
What causes bladder cancer?
The NHS says: “Tobacco smoke is a common cause and it’s estimated that more than one in three cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking.”
In advanced stages, bladder cancer can lead to:
- Pelvic pain
- Bone pain
- Unintentional weight loss
- Swelling of the legs.
As with any type of cancer, the sooner a tumour is diagnosed, the better the outcomes are likely to be.
An early diagnosis could save your life, as the cancer can be prevented from spreading elsewhere in the body.
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Low-risk early bladder cancer is treated via surgery and a single dose of chemotherapy.
People who have intermediate (moderate) risk of early bladder cancer should be offered a course of at least six doses of chemotherapy.
For higher-risk early bladder cancer, the BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine will be included in treatment.
As for Lemmon, his cancer had spread, which ultimately led to the end of his life.
Nowadays, however, invasive bladder cancer can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy.
If the cancer can not be cured, then patients will be referred to a palliative care team.
The team can provide support and practical help, including pain relief.
Jack Lemmon starred in Fire Down Below, which is showcasing on Film 4 on Wednesday, January 18 at 2.25pm.
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