Bladder cancer is a condition that can have a variety of causes, all of which result in abnormal growth either in the lining of the bladder or within the muscle layer surrounding the bladder. Smokers, Caucasians, older people and those who have had chronic urinary tract infections are at higher risk of developing the disease.
Recognize that smoking causes tobacco smoke to be absorbed into the body and filtered through the kidneys, which is why a large percentage of bladder cancer sufferers are or have been smokers. It's never too late to ask your doctor to help you quit smoking and to boost your immune system.
Determine whether you've been afflicted by bilharzia, a tropical disease that has been linked to bladder cancer.
Consider any chemicals to which you've been exposed. Long-term exposure to carcinogenic chemicals, such as those formerly used in textile and paint factories, is linked to bladder cancer.
Pay attention to your diet. There is preliminary evidence that a poor diet devoid of healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables is linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer.
Recognize that cancer sufferers have more control over their disease and treatment than ever before. Be proactive about addressing your questions and concerns to your doctor and other health professionals.
Explore the National Cancer Institute's Web site and the Web site for the American Cancer Society (see "Resources" below) to understand more about cancer in general and how to recognize bladder cancer in particular.
Be prepared to continue seeing your doctor for periodic bladder scans once you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer. Tumors can sometimes reappear, making regular check-ups an effective way to catch a problem in its early stages.