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Bladder Cancer Recurrence: What You Need to Know

Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that's completely treatable when caught early but it also has one of the highest rates of recurrence in the cancer world. If you've had bladder cancer and beat it, it's crucial to stay ahead of your health to watch for recurrence of the disease.

Recurrence of bladder cancer can be devastating, especially if you thought you were in the clear. It’s important to understand the recurrence rate and risks to prepare for life after remission.

The team at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, D.C., and Capitol Heights, Maryland, understands the need for closure when it comes to cancer. Our group of three expert nephrologists helps you get through bladder cancer treatment. It enables you to prepare for the future, including understanding the risks of disease recurrence.

What is bladder cancer?

The bladder is a small organ that holds urine from the kidneys before it exits your body. It's an integral part of the genitourinary system, but various problems can arise with the bladder, including cancer.

Bladder cancer happens when abnormal cells form and mutate, eventually forming a tumor in the bladder's soft lining. Although bladder cancer is rare, it can spread and cause complications in the body.

There are various forms of bladder cancer, each defined by the type of cell that initially caused the tumor to form. The primary forms of bladder cancer include:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Sarcoma
  • Small cell carcinoma

Some doctors also categorize bladder cancer by the tissues it affects. Noninvasive bladder cancer only affects a small area of the bladder or tissues on the surface of the lining.

Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer has spread further into the tissues than noninvasive bladder cancer but has still not penetrated the muscles. Muscle-invasive bladder cancer has spread to the muscles in the bladder wall. It may spread to other organs outside of the bladder.

The facts on bladder cancer recurrence

The unfortunate aspect of bladder cancer is that it has about a 75% recurrence, even when you find it early. For this reason, you must stay up-to-date on your doctors' appointments and health to stay ahead of the disease.

It's hard to say why some people have recurrence of cancer and others don't, but it may have to do with where the cancer started and if it spread initially. People with more profound forms of bladder cancer may have a higher chance of recurrence.

People who are overweight or obese are also at higher risk for bladder cancer returning. However, our team can give you more detailed information specific to your form of bladder cancer.

Screening for bladder cancer recurrence

Even after treatment, the risk of bladder cancer recurrence is high. We want to continue to monitor your health closely to find any signs of recurrent bladder cancer early on.

Even after the cancer has cleared, follow-up appointments are essential in screening for recurrence symptoms. At these appointments, our team asks you how you're feeling and if you've noticed any changes or symptoms developing that could signal a problem.

At your follow-up appointment, we may also do blood work, imaging studies, and other screening tests to look for signs of cancer in the body. You can expect to have follow-up appointments every three to six months, depending on the type of cancer you have and its severity.

If you still have your bladder after cancer, we recommend doing a cystoscopy exam every three months for two years to ensure the cancer doesn't return. People with a urinary diversion need other testing, such as vitamin B12 testing, urinalysis exams, and X-rays to evaluate the urinary system.

Although there's not much you can do to prevent bladder cancer from returning, you can keep your body as healthy as possible to prevent complications. Lifestyle factors like eating healthy, exercising, and watching your weight may help prevent cancer from recurring.

If you're concerned bladder cancer has returned, don't hesitate to call Metro Renal Associates today for an appointment or request a consultation using the online booking tool.

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