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Keeping an Eye on Bladder Cancer: February 16, 2014

Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in this country and is found more frequently in men. The majority of cases involve low-grade tumors and the outlook for survival is good.

“Because those are much simpler to treat and have a high rate of curing with patients tumor free. Seventy-five percent of cancer will be a low grade non invasive tumors,” says Dr. Alejandro Miranda-Sousa, urologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

Bladder cancer is typically found when a doctor detects blood in the urine and refers the patient to a urologist. Using a cystoscope doctors can view and remove an affected area.

“The low grade cancer, the scrapping or removal of the tumor is done with no cuts. All of that is done with a little tiny scope usually in the outpatient center. Sometimes medication is given within the bladder; a form of chemotherapy or immunotherapy,” says Dr. Miranda-Sousa.

While this low-grade cancer is rarely fatal, it can be problematic. It comes back more than 50% of the time, sometimes in a different location, making it extremely important to keep on keep an eye on the bladder.

“So even though you remove it, you find you remove it take care of it, we stay very vigilant afterwards. And the follow up is to check the bladder every three months for the first two years,” says Dr. Miranda-Sousa.

From that point on doctors recommend yearly monitoring. Keeping the cancer in check is a life-long strategy.