At the age of 70 actor and Member of Parliament Vinod Khanna succumbed to cancer. The spokesperson of Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, where he was admitted briefly, released an official statement, which read, “Veteran actor and Member of Parliament Mr. Vinod Khanna, who was admitted to the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital breathed his last at 11.20 am due to advanced bladder carcinoma.”
According to data shared by the Delhi Cancer Registry, bladder cancer was the 6th most common cancer in 2013. Mumbai-based Dr Pradeep Rao, urologist, Global Hospitals shares, “Bladder cancer is a fairly common disease in India, especially due to high tobacco usage. It is an aggressive cancer and can be fatal if not treated immediately.” Fifteen per cent of all tobacco-related cancers are bladder cancers.
There are an estimated 383,000 number of patients suffering from bladder cancer across the world. The cancer mostly occurs in older people but recently has been diagnosed in younger age groups as well. However, the average age of diagnosis remains 60.
Jaipur-based Dr Aseem Samar (DM), Medical Oncologist, Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital & Research Centre reveals, “We get almost 100-150 patients with this cancer every month. Bladder cancer starts inside the lining of the bladder. When this cancer spreads to some other part of the body, it is called advanced bladder cancer. This cancer is believed to have a high rate of recurrence. Most commonly when bladder cancer spreads, it happens close to the bladder like in ureters, urethra, vagina or prostate. However, in some cases it can have a distant spread to the lymph nodes, lungs, liver and even bones.”
“The cases are more prevalent in people who reside close to the Ganga river belt. The reason is not known yet,” he adds.
This cancer does not show any apparent signs in the beginning. However, once it reaches advanced stage, it shows the below symptoms:
Blood in urine
Pain during urination
Urge to pee even when you have just emptied the bladder
Having trouble urinating
These signs can also indicate urinary infections, benign tumours, bladder stones, so it is best to consult your doctor if you notice these signs.
Are you at risk?
Below are the conditions that make you prone to this cancer.
Smokers – If you smoke, you are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer.
Exposure to industrial areas – For those who work in the dye, rubber, leather, textile, paint or print industries and even those who work with organic chemicals, are prone to this cancer if they do not follow necessary safety measures.
Gender – This cancer is more common among men than women
Older age – This disease is more common among people in late 60’s.
Exposure to radiation therapy – People who Radiation therapy for prostate or cervical cancer and chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). Older machines are more common.
Previously diagnosed with bladder cancer – Recurrence of bladder cancer occurs in 60 per cent of the patients.
If a patient is reported at an early stage, surgery and chemotherapy are the two options. However, once it reaches an advanced stage, chemotherapy is the only treatment available.