Even with recent consumer health initiatives focused, aggressively, on the movement to reduce the risk of smoking related cancer and death, many Americans are not only continuing to smoke but suffer the long term health complications associated with smoking. With the baby boomer population, it is anticipated there will be an overwhelming spike in age related cancer diagnoses in the coming decade. Of these, the incidence of bladder cancer is expected to be on the rise. For the aging population, it is important to understand the connection of bladder cancer to long term smoking history, the symptoms of bladder cancer and the associated treatment options, as education in these health issues may facilitate early diagnosis and treatment.
Bladder cancer, commonly found in the aging population, more often afflicts men than women. However, with the direct correlation between smoking and bladder cancer, many more individuals, in a variety of age groups, are suffering from the bladder cancer diagnosis.
Symptoms of bladder cancer, to complicate matters further, are often misdiagnosed as that of a prostate disorder. However, unlike prostate cancer, symptoms of bladder cancer will commonly differ from prostate complications in that a urine specimen will show signs of blood and the individual suffering from bladder cancer will not only experience a frequency in urination but also an urgency to do so.
When suffering from symptoms which may be associated with bladder cancer, early diagnosis and treatment intervention are crucial, especially for those individuals with a history of smoking as the smoking, even at a young age, may be contributing to additional aging related health complications beyond bladder cancer. For women, issues such as breast cancer and ovarian cancer may need to be examined.
When confirmed with a diagnosis of bladder cancer, there are a variety of treatment recommendation made by the oncologist and urologist. In severe cases, a surgically invasive procedure known as urinary diversion is commonly suggested and involves a surgical procedure in which a cystectomy, a removal of the bladder, is performed leading to the diversion of the urinary tract system into an external or internal bladder replacement device. While this procedure is life altering in and of itself, individuals who have a long history of smoking may find this is not the only health issue which has come to surface later in life.
As with any consumer health initiative, the progressive movement to alert the public in the risks of smoking continues. For those individuals who continue to smoke, the public service announcements may prove more effective when discussing the age related complications afflicting thousands of aging individuals and directly attributed to smoking habits.