The People's Perspective on Medicine

937 Paying Attention to Bladder Cancer

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937 Paying Attention to Bladder Cancer

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Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about:

We rarely hear about bladder cancer, but it is the fourth most common cancer of men in the U.S., and the toll it takes is underappreciated. We hear from a survivor about his story, and we talk with a leading physician about advances in the treatment of this important malignancy.

Find out about the symptoms and early warning signs that should prompt an examination. There are several treatments for this condition; immunotherapy (BCG) offers hope for some cases that have resisted other treatments.

Guests: Raj S. Pruthi, MD, FACS, is Chair of the Department of Urology and Professor of Surgery and Urology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He is co-director of the urologic oncology program and bladder cancer Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. He serves on the editorial board for several journals including the Journal of Urology and is also a member of numerous guidelines committees for treatment of bladder cancer and urologic diseases. The photo is of Dr. Pruthi.

David Langham is a patient and facilitator of the Triangle Bladder Cancer Support Group. The website for the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network is The Triangle Bladder Cancer Support Group is at trianglebcs

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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JBG made the point that women are less likely than men to see their urine, so less likely to notice blood. I’d like to add that they also never see it undiluted, so a hint of pink can easily go unnoticed PLUS most women expect to see blood in the toilet at least one week out of four, if not more often. Of course they are less likely to notice this possible sign of bladder cancer!

I have had BCG treatment for bladder cancer and I can verify that it was not painful. I had small papillary tumors and they were removed, so far I have not had a return of them I urge no one to be afraid of BCG treatments! and BCAN is the most wonderful resource I found.

I have just listened to the audio on bladder cancer. I am a retired registered nurse. I had bladder cancer 15 years ago. Luckily, it had not spread beyond the bladder lining. My cancer was discovered through a routine urine specimen that showed red blood cells. I was sent to a urologist and he prescribed the BCG treatment.
The man on the audio described the BCG treatment as very painful and had lots of side effects. I did not have any bad side effects nor was it painful!! The BCG treatment would consist of 200 cc of sterile water that contained live tubercula cells. This was injected into the bladder through a catheter. I was told to go home, lie on the bed for 2 hours, turn from side to side so that this liquid would coat the bladder lining. I was not to urinate during that time. Then after urination, I was to pour chlorox into the toilet to kill the live tubercular cells. I want to emphasize to others that I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO SIDE EFFECTS NOR WAS THE TREATMENT PAINFUL IN ANY WAY AT ALL!
I returned once a week for 6 weeks, for repeat treatments. I had a friend who also had bladder cancer at the same time. She received the same treatment from the same doctor. Both of us are still alive. I am now 90 years old and have not had any further problems.
I do agree with the statement made by the doctor on the audio, that the best results come from early treatment. I feel that I was very lucky. But to those reading this, do not be afraid to get the BCG treatment!!! Nothing to it!

David, great job of sharing your story and of providing background information on the Bladder Support Group. Joe and I attended from September 2010 after seeing the information posted in the urologist office. Joe and I have embraced this group for numerous reasons – the friendship, the educational aspect and for the continuous support!

There was a bit of discussion during the show of the fact that men seem to get into treatment for bladder cancer more quickly than women, even though women attend to most health problems more quickly than men. According to the discussion, no one seems to know why men are quicker in the case of bladder cancer.
Here’s a possible reason. When men urinate, they typically are standing, and because they have to aim, they have to look at what they’re doing. Women almost always are sitting, and it’s quite possible for them to finish and flush without ever looking at what they’ve produced. Hence, men can hardly fail to notice blood in the urine, whereas women might go for a long time without it coming to their attention.

Thank you for putting on this informative program- I learned of it via a friend who emailed me and played program 937 back online 3/2.
I also noted a ‘pain’ in the groin of a flight from Germany in Dec 12, had been intermittent for maybe a couple months – In February there was blood in the urine.
I have been in the fight since Feb 1st 2013, have had the Bladder and Prostate removed after Chemo and surgery and a NeoBladder was installed successfully in June 13 then follow up Chemo.
I had 2 months ‘clear’ but unfortunately the Cancer lesions developed in the Liver – SMALL CELL BLADDER CANCER is the diagnosis, very rare – I have been dealing with NYOH – New York Oncology Hematology for treatment options.
Currently two rounds of TOPOTECAN has seen the stop of the lesion growth and twice now many of the lesions have receded – There has been no new tumors seen in the CT scans – so right now the fight is going our way again. I start chemo again tomorrow and hope we’ll see the lesions regress even more.
I just want to pass this along in case anyone else is dealing with Small Cell Bladder Cancer- I am physically active as I can be, I try to eat right, exercise as best I can – turning 63 and took a mile walk today and try to have a positive mental and spiritual outlook which I’m told is important
I have found good support from BCAN and have a network of Bladder Buddies – some with Neo Bladder, some not.

One of the most helpful shows I’ve heard this year. The insight and knowledge about bladder cancer in men and women was very helpful. Thanks so much for tackling the topic.

I am an 8.5 year bladder cancer surviver. Raj Pruthi saved my life. We talked so long ago about the need for public awareness of bladder cancer. My sign was blood in my urine. A sign that I ignored for many months. I am fortunate to have had a persistent Physician’s Assistant, that literally led my by my arm to a referral desk and made my initial urology appointment. Two months later, Dr Pruthi was providing me with a “new” bladder.
BCAN, nationally, has filled a huge void. There was no information readily available for those newly diagnosed. The local group, started and led continuously, by David Langham, provides that information & support of many types. This support is not only for those with BC, but very importantly, for caregivers as well.
The local group also raises awareness at health fairs of all sizes. It was great to hear both David & Dr Pruthi on the People’s Pharmacy. Help is out there. It is my good fortune to know both David Langham & Raj Pruthi. My thanks and “great job” to both of these talented & compassionate men

VERY INFORMATIVE. I was diagnosed with bladder cancer almost 4 years ago and had my bladder removed in May of 2010. I find the bladder cancer support group and the Trianagle Area Ostomy Assoction very helpful and try to attend each as often as possible.

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