Bladder Cancer - Medical Negligence Lawyer
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is passing blood in the urine (haematuria) which may occur on a regular basis or be intermittent. Passing blood in the urine due to bladder cancer is painless and is usually not accompanied by any other symptoms in the early stages. If haematuria is associated with discomfort it is usually due to a bladder irritation caused by infection which may be treated with antibiotics. Blood in the urine may be extremely fine and impossible to see with the naked eye but may be identified with microscopic analysis. Failure by a GP to notice or act on these symptoms may result in misdiagnosis and would be considered by a bladder cancer medical negligence lawyer to be actionable in the civil court.
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Diagnosis of bladder cancer follows microscopic analysis of a sample of urine for the presence of blood. It may then be necessary for a digital examination via the rectum or vagina to identify any structural changes. It may be necessary to arrange follow up tests or X-rays. Final diagnosis follows examination by a consultant urologist usually at a local hospital often involving visible examination of the interior of the bladder by cystoscopy using a local anaesthetic. Cystoscopy is carried out using is a thin flexible fibre optic tube with a light at the end. The cystoscope instrument is also capable of taking a small tissue sample for later laboratory analysis. Misdiagnosis of bladder cancer can occur at any stage particularly where human interpretation of test results is necessary.
Bladder Cancer Lawyers
If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a medical negligence lawyer without further obligation, just use the helpline. A bladder cancer lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence.
Bladder Cancer Overview
Cancer of the bladder involves growths or polyps in the bladder caused by abnormal cells growing out of control in the urinary bladder. The abnormal cells destroy healthy cells so that the bladder can’t function normally.
The bladder is located in the pelvis. It is a hollow organ that takes urine from the kidneys and sends it to the outside via the urethra. About 99 percent of all cells in the bladder are epithelial cells, which makes up the inner lining of the bladder.
Bladder cancer is relatively common; it appears as the sixth leading cause of cancer cases. It is seen most often in men: about 2-3 times more often than in women. It is seen more often in Caucasians as opposed to Blacks. Among men, it is the fourth common cause of cancer and among women, it is the ninth most common type of cancer. Even though there are many people with bladder cancer, it is not one that kills many people, especially over the last twenty five years.
No one knows the real cause of bladder cancer but there are some risk factors that people should be aware of. These include the following:
- Exposures to certain chemicals in industries like painters, hairdressers, leather and dye works, rubber workers and textile workers.
- Smoking history, which doubles the risk.
- Racial factors.
- Gender—men have it more than men
- Age—greater than 40 years
- History of cyclophosphamide use.
- History of radiation to the pelvis.
- Past or family history of bladder cancer.
Bladder infections have specific symptoms; however, some of the symptoms are identical to having a bladder infection, which can be confusing. The main symptoms include the following:
- Burning on urination
- Bloody urine—very common finding
- Urinary urgency which is needing to urinate frequently and immediately
- Incomplete bladder emptying
- Low back pain in the pelvic area
Bladder cancer should be caught as early as possible so as to increase the survival rate. Late diagnosis of bladder cancer can yield a poor prognosis. Bladder cancer that has spread to other body areas is considered metastatic and has a very poor prognosis.
Cancer can be treated by surgically removing all or part of the bladder. Complications of a partial cystectomy include having a very small bladder with frequent voidings. The cancer can also come back so the surgeon or urologist will need to do frequent evaluations to make sure it doesn’t come back.
In a complete cystectomy, the prostate in men is removed as well. A new “bladder” is made from a section of small bowel. The urine will collect but a catheter must be made to empty the urine manually. Some patients receive a urostomy, which connects the two ureters to the abdominal wall for drainage into a pouch.
Complications from bladder surgery include female infertility and female menopause from ovarian removal. The vagina may be shorter which can interfere with female sexuality. Men can also have sexual problems and infertility because of prostate removal.
In diagnosing bladder cancer, the doctor does a complete history and physical examination. An occupational history will be taken. Blood tests for kidney function will be taken along with a urinary check for blood and cancer cells. A vaginal and rectal exam will be done in women and a rectal exam is done in men. A cystoscopy is done, which is a test where the bladder is seen with a lighted camera. Biopsies can be taken of suspicious areas. Complications of this include leakage of urine outside the bladder.
When the diagnosis of bladder cancer is made, tests such as the CT scan or MRI scan are done to look for metastases. IVPs are done to outline the kidneys and their function as well as the placement of the ureters. Bone scans check to see if cancer is in the bone and a chest x-ray is done to see if there has been spread of cancer to lungs.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here