Are You at Risk for Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer is a common type of urological cancer that begins in cells of the bladder. The bladder is a hollow muscular organ in the lower abdomen where urine is stored. 

The cancer starts when cells of the bladder undergo changes, called mutations, in their DNA. Due to the changes, the cells multiply rapidly and uncontrollably. And they are also able to survive when normal and healthy cells die.

As a mass of abnormal cells builds forming a tumor, the resulting tumor invades and destroys normal bladder tissues and may even break away and spread through the body.

What are the different types of bladder cancer?

  1. Urothelial carcinoma (transitional cell carcinoma)

This is the most common type of bladder cancer. It occurs in the cells of the inner lining of the bladder, called urothelial cells. After cancer begins in these cells it often spreads to adjacent tissues and can even invade distant organs.

  1. Squamous cell carcinoma

This is a rare type of bladder cancer that tends to occur after an infection or long-term use of a urinary catheter. It is associated with chronic irritation of the bladder and can be caused by certain parasitic infections, such as schistosomiasis.

  1. Adenocarcinoma

This is also a less common type of bladder cancer. Adenocarcinoma occurs in the cells that form mucus-secreting glands in the bladder before invading adjacent tissues.

Who is at risk of bladder cancer?

  1. A smoker

Smoking of cigarettes is the most common association and causes of bladder cancer. In fact, smoking generally including cigars and pipes can also increase the risk of cancer. Cigarette and tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals that reach the bloodstream and are excreted in urine.

When the chemicals linger in the bladder, they damage or cause changes in cells. This increases the risk of cancer. In fact, cigarette smokers have three times more risk of bladder cancer than non-smokers.

  1. A person over the age of 55 years

While bladder cancer can occur at any age, it is more often diagnosed in people above the age of 55 years. And with up to 90-percent of those with the cancer being aged 55 years or older, aging is a major risk factor for bladder cancer.

  1. Being male

Being male predisposes you to a higher risk of bladder cancer than being female. In fact, men are four times more likely to develop cancer than women. However, women have a higher likelihood of late diagnosis of the cancer, which makes them more likely to die of the disease than men.

  1. Being white

Race is a factor in bladder cancer. Generally, white people are twice as likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than black people. Nevertheless, black people are twice as likely to die from the disease as white people.

  1. Being frequently exposed to certain harmful chemicals

Frequent exposure to certain chemicals increases the risk of bladder cancer. For example, in places where arsenic is found in drinking water, there is a higher incidence of cancer.

Also, people repeatedly exposed to aromatic amines, such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine, often used in the dye industry, have a higher risk of cancer.  Likewise, chemicals used to manufacture dyes, rubber, leather, paint, and textile products increase the risk of bladder cancer.

That is why painters, printers, machinists, hairdressers (due to heavy exposure to hair dyes), truck drivers (exposure to diesel fumes), and industrial workers in rubber, leather, textile, and paint factories have greater risk of bladder cancer.

The chemicals reach the bloodstream and get filtered by the kidneys, allowing them to be present in urine. Once in urine, they may cause mutation of bladder cells, which eventually triggers cancer.

  1. A person with chronic bladder inflammation

Repeated bladder inflammation causes changes in bladder cells and may result in cancer. Hence, conditions such as kidney and bladder stones, recurrent urinary tract infections, chronic inflammation (cystitis), and long-term use of a urinary catheter increase the risk of bladder cancer.

  1. A person with personal or family history of bladder cancer

If you have had previous bladder cancer, you’re more likely to get it again. Also, if you have blood relatives—a sibling, parent or child—who has had the cancer, you have a greater risk of the cancer, though it is rare for the disease to run in families.

  1. A person who has previously been treated for cancer

When you have been treated with the anti-cancer drug cyclo-phosphamide, you have a higher risk of bladder cancer. Similarly, if you have received radiation treatment aimed at your pelvis for a previous cancer, then you have a greater risk of developing bladder cancer.

How can you prevent bladder cancer?

While there is no guaranteed way of preventing bladder cancer, taking certain steps can reduce your risk of the disease. Useful preventative steps include:

  1. Avoiding smoking

If you’re not a smoker, just don’t start.  And if you smoke, speak with your doctor about a tailored plan to help you stop. Medications, support groups, and other methods may help.

  1. Taking precautions when around certain chemicals

When working with various chemicals, follow the necessary safety precautions to avoid exposure.

  1. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits will provide antioxidants that help reduce the risk of bladder cancer.

  1. Drinking enough fluid

When you drink a lot of fluid, particularly water, you lower your risk of bladder cancer. More fluid intake helps you to empty your bladder more frequently and ensures harmful chemicals do not linger in your bladder long enough to cause damage.

Compassionate, patient-centered cancer care

If you see blood in your urine, you could have bladder cancer and should be seen by a board certified urologist. 

Would you like to undergo timely and accurate screening and diagnostic tests for bladder cancer? 

Through our compassionate, patient-centered approach, Advanced Urology Institute ensures that all patients get quality time with urology oncologists, have their concerns addressed and undergo comprehensive screening and diagnostic testing. 

For more information on bladder cancer and other urological disorders, visit the site “Advanced Urology Institute.”

Urologists Also Treat Women

Urologists are physicians who specialize in treating the male and female urinary systems, as well as the organs of the male reproductive system. Because men and women can both have problems with their urinary tract systems, many women see urologists for treatment. According to board certified urologist Dr. Howard Epstein, “We usually see women for things like bladder cancer, kidney stones, kidney cancer or incontinence.” Recurring urinary tract infections is another common reason for women to see a urologist.

Although both men and women see urologists, they usually see urologists for different reasons. For instance, women are more prone to urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control which can cause urine leaks. The degree of the severity of incontinence varies on a case-by-case basis. Some women experience urinary leakage when they laugh, cough or exercise. Urinary incontinence is so common in women that at least half of older women experience some degree of it. Urologists can treat incontinence with a wide range of options, including lifestyle changes, medication, devices, and in some cases surgery.

Urinary tract infections Howard Epstein, MD of St Augustine, FL(UTIs) are another issue that brings many women, especially older women, to their urologist’s office. UTIs are another urinary issue that can affect both men and women, but they are far more common in women than men. About half of all women will have a UTI in their lifetimes, while only 1 in 10 men will. UTIs are infections that happen in the bladder or urethra. Symptoms include burning while urinating, frequent urges to urinate, and pain in the lower back and abdomen. Urologists can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

Kidney stones are another issue for which women seek help from their urologist. These stones, made of salt and mineral deposits in the kidneys, can become lodged in the urinary tract causing a wide range of issues. Symptoms include pain, nausea, vomiting, and even fever. In some cases, the pain can be so severe that some women liken it to childbirth, if not worse. There are several treatment options available for kidney stones, and finding the right one depends on the size and location of the stone. Shock wave lithotripsy can be used as a non-invasive way to break up the stones into small, easily passable pieces. In some cases, more invasive extraction methods might be needed.

All of these urological treatment options, from medications to surgeries, have their side effects. It is important for women to be able to have conversations with their urologist about their health issues and the possible side effects of treatment. For many women with urinary problems, the path to relief begins with a consultation with a urologist at the Advanced Urology Institute.

5 Reasons for Women to See a Urologist

A urologist isn’t just a doctor for men. There are many reasons why a woman would need to see a doctor who treats the urinary system. The urinary system is a collection of organs that involved the kidneys and bladder, as well as the organs involved in the reproductive process.

Here are five common reasons why a woman may need to see a urologist

1. Kidney Stones

When minerals in the urine combine, they can sometimes stick together and create kidney stones that get lodged in the urinary tract. These stones vary in size and create a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms are pain and difficulty urinating. Some women may also experience fever or chills.

Treatment for kidney stones varies depending on patient and stone type, but urologists have plenty of treatment options on hand. In some cases, drinking lots of water can flush the stones out. In other cases, high-intensity focused ultrasounds can break the stones into smaller, more easily passable pieces.

2. Urinary Tract Infection

Commonly referred to as UTI, this a common infection that many women will develop at some point in their lives. It occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and cause pain and burning during urination. UTI’s can become serious, so treatment with antibiotics is important.

3. Bladder/Pelvic Prolapse

This painful condition occurs when the bladder begins to drop down into the vagina. There are a few reasons why this may happen. Some women develop this condition after childbirth, but for others it occurs as a part of the aging process. Correcting this problem usually requires surgery performed by a urologist.

4. Bladder Control Problems

Bladder control problems are twice as common for women, and the medical term for these problems is Urinary Incontinence. Urinary incontinence takes many forms. Some women experience dripping when they sneeze, cough or laugh. Some women have an overactive bladder that creates a sudden and urgent need to use the bathroom. No matter what form it takes, women can work with a urologist to find the best treatment, or combination of treatments, to help with their incontinence.

5. Cancer

There are certain cancers for which a woman would be treated by a urologist. These include cancers of the bladder, kidneys or urethra. Lower back pain, pain during urination, and blood in the urine can be signs of one or more of these cancers. Treatment varies depending on the type of cancer, how aggressive it is, and the overall health of the patient.

Women in Florida who need a urologist for treatment of one or more of these problems have many options. The Advance Urology Institute is a team of highly skilled medical professionals who practice at locations throughout the state and with a commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for their male and female patients. For more information about women’s urological issues, visit the Advance Urology Institute website.

The Two Most Common Female Urology Problems

Although it can feel embarrassing to discuss them with your doctor, problems with your kidneys, bladder and other parts of the urinary system are very common and are usually highly treatable. For women, two of the most common problems are urinary tract infections (UTIs) and urinary incontinence.

Urinary Tract Infection

Chelsie Ferrell, PA of DeLand, FLA urinary tract infection is an infection of a part of the urinary system which includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra. A UTI can occur when bacteria enters the urinary system, usually via the urethra. Symptoms of a UTI include a strong, constant need to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, and urine that is cloudy or pink or red-tinged and has a strong smell. There also may be pain around the pelvis. Although UTIs are usually not serious, if the infection spreads from the bladder into the kidneys, complications can occur. If you are diagnosed with a UTI, your doctor most likely will prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection.

UTIS are more common in women than men because women have shorter urethras. There are easy steps you can take to prevent getting a UTI. Drinking plenty of liquids, wiping from front to back after using the restroom, and urinating soon after sexual intercourse are all important preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing a UTI.


Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, is also a common problem for women, especially those who have given birth or have gone through menopause. These life events weaken the pelvic floor, making muscle control around the bladder more difficult. Incontinence also can be caused by weak or overactive bladder muscles or nerve damage.

Incontinence can vary in severity. For some women, this means only a few drops of urine being released when they cough or laugh. Others may experience a sudden urge to urinate and lose control of their bladders before they have time to get to a restroom. This can cause feelings of embarrassment and keep women from participating in activities they enjoy. Thankfully, urinary incontinence is very treatable. If it is becoming a major nuisance in your life, talk to your doctor about specific treatment steps to permanently help deal with the issue rather than addressing the symptoms.

Although problems with the urinary system can feel embarrassing, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that these issues are treatable. The physicians at Advanced Urology Institute are here to help with any urological issues you may be facing. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

5 Most Common Signs of Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections of any part of the urinary system, such as kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. UTIs typically occur when bacteria access the urinary tract via the urethra and start to multiply in the bladder. While the urinary system is equipped to keep out the bacteria, the system’s defenses may sometimes fail and allow bacteria to take hold and multiply, resulting in a full-blown urinary tract infection. Abnormalities in the urinary tract that interfere with drainage of urine (such as enlarged prostate or kidney stones), foreign bodies in the bladder (such as tubes and catheters), diabetes, and immune-suppressing drugs and disorders increase the risk of urinary tract infections.

How common are urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common bacterial infections in humans. In the United States, over 8.6 million hospital visits and more than 1 million hospital admissions are due to these infections. Women are at higher risk of having a UTI than men and account for more than 84 percent of all UTIs annually. In fact, every woman has over a 50 percent chance of developing at least one UTI in her lifetime, with the risk of recurrent UTI increasing significantly with each infection. Women have greater risk of getting UTIs because the urethra is shorter in women than in men, allowing bacteria to enter the bladder more easily and multiply. Sexually active women also have higher risk of UTI because anything placed inside the vagina increases the risk of infection.

5 most common signs of urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infections are easy to treat when detected early, but untreated or undiagnosed UTI may lead to kidney damage. To help detect UTIs and seek early treatment, it is important to familiarize yourself with their most common signs.

Often, the most frequent sign of a urinary tract infection is a noticeable change in urination, such as frequent urination, burning sensation when passing urine or strong-smelling urine.

The most common signs of a UTI include:

  1. Change in urine color
    Normal urine is clear and pale yellow in color. But when having a urinary tract infection, the urine may appear cloudy, red, cola-colored, bright pink or just darkened. When you see these changes, you should suspect a urinary tract infection and visit your urologist immediately for help.
  2. Strong-smelling urine
    Urine has its characteristic smell, but when you have a urinary tract infection the smell may be unusually strong. Make sure to speak with your doctor if your urine smells stronger than usual.
  3. Abdominal or back pain
    Along with a burning sensation when urinating, urinary tract infections may cause abdominal or pelvic pain, particularly around the pubic bone and in the center of the pelvis. Abdominal, upper back and flank (side) back pain also can indicate infection of the kidney. Speak with your urologist about the pain as soon as possible.
  4. Fever and chills
    In some cases, a urinary tract infection may cause a fever and chills. For instance, when having a catheter, fever may be the only sign of infection, but when the fever increases and is accompanied by fatigue, chills or mental problems, then a severe kidney infection may be suspected. Visit your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.
  5. Nausea and vomiting
    Because the urinary tract is closely associated with the digestive system, a urinary tract infection may cause nausea and vomiting. Make sure to talk to your doctor immediately, especially if the nausea and vomiting is accompanied by other UTI symptoms.Urinary tract infections cause relatively little harm, but they can be dangerous when left untreated. If you are diagnosed with an infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics taken for 2-3 days. Severe infections may require longer treatment, but antibiotics resolve most cases of UTIs.

It is also important to take steps to prevent or reduce the risk of UTI. The steps include:

  1. Drinking plenty of water daily.
  2. Using underwear made of absorbent cotton.
  3. Wiping from the front to the back.
  4. Urinating immediately after sexual intercourse.
  5. Avoiding birth control or feminine products that are inserted into the vagina.

When you have to use such inserts, wash your hands and the vaginal area thoroughly before inserting a device.
Work closely with your urologist to prevent complications that may be caused by urinary tract infections. Remember doctors can help by prescribing appropriate antibiotics, but you also can take steps to prevent UTIs in the first place.