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This Bladder Cancer Symptom is Overlooked by Many

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Swelling in the legs could be a sign of serious health issues, including bladder cancer.

As cancer becomes more prevalent, our ability to combat it improves. However, awareness of some uncommon symptoms remains low, leading to delayed medical consultations and ignored bodily signals.

Swelling in the legs, especially when accompanied by other symptoms, may indicate bladder cancer. This information is particularly pertinent during May, Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. Prevention and early detection are crucial, as men over 45 are most commonly affected, although women are also at risk. Early detection and treatment of bladder cancer significantly improve the prognosis.

Understanding Bladder Cancer

Over half of those diagnosed with bladder cancer do not recover, often due to late medical intervention. The cancer typically originates in the bladder’s inner lining, or epithelium, and progresses slowly. Regular check-ups and health maintenance can lead to favorable outcomes.

The Importance of Prevention

Bladder cancer primarily affects seniors and smokers. According to the NHS, smoking accounts for over a third of bladder cancer cases, making it the most significant risk factor. Smokers are four times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers. Depending on the disease stage, bladder cancer can be invasive or non-invasive, with the aggressive form potentially spreading to deeper tissues, including muscles.

An Unusual Symptom: Leg Swelling

Bladder cancer can remain asymptomatic for a long time, but advanced stages may present unexpected symptoms, such as leg swelling. According to the Mayo Clinic, hematuria (blood in the urine) is a common symptom. Other symptoms include a frequent, urgent need to urinate, pain, and burning during urination. Advanced bladder cancer may also cause pelvic or bone pain, leg swelling, and unexpected weight loss. These symptoms can relate to other diseases but should never be ignored. Leg swelling is often overlooked until it is too late, despite its association with bladder cancer.

Expert Advice

“Don’t underestimate hematuria, even if it has passed! Blood in urine is an alarm signal that cannot be ignored. Thorough oncological diagnostics should always be performed in such cases,” advises Prof. Tomasz Drewa, President of the Polish Urological Society, in an interview with Tropic of Cancer.

Risk Factors and Demographics

Bladder cancer primarily affects older individuals, particularly those over 75. Major risk factors include smoking and exposure to tobacco products. Other significant risk factors are:

– Radiotherapy or chemotherapy
– Type 2 diabetes
– Chronic catheterization
– Long-term or recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
– Urinary tract stones
– Untreated schistosomiasis infection (bilharzia)

Taking Action

If you or a loved one shows symptoms or has concerns about cancer, it is crucial to consult a family doctor promptly. Early diagnosis is key to improving the prognosis. Hematuria is always a serious symptom, regardless of age or other risk factors. Do not ignore the warning signs your body may be sending, and remember to attend regular medical check-ups.

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