Alejandro Miranda-Sousa, M.D., is a Board-certified urologist at Urology Experts, a premier three-location center in Southwest Florida. Recently named a Top Doctor by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology, Dr. Miranda-Sousa has written and co-written several award-winning clinical and research papers. Today, he specializes in urinary incontinence, bladder stone prevention, urologic oncology, laser surgery and much more. It is also Dr. Miranda-Sousa’s passion to use the most advanced technology and surgical techniques in all areas of his practice.
Early symptoms of bladder cancer
Over a lifetime, you or someone you know may experience bladder cancer. Knowing the symptoms and when to see a doctor can help in detecting the cancer in its early stages. The American Cancer Society estimates 79,030 new cases of bladder cancer in 2017. It accounts for five percent of all new cancers in the U.S. and is the fourth most common cancer in men, especially white males. Roughly, nine out of ten people with bladder cancer are over the age of 55. Although many may not fit into this demographic, it should not deter you from learning the symptoms associated.
Blood in the Urine
Blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. The urine may appear orange or pink, but often the color is normal with only small amounts of blood found during a urinalysis. However, blood in the urine does not always mean bladder cancer. Many times, this may be the result of an infection, kidney stones, bladder stones or benign kidney disease.
Changes in Bladder Habits
Changes in urination is another symptom some experience. However, this may also be caused by other conditions such as urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or an overactive bladder, as well as an enlarged prostate. If experiencing symptoms, it is important to see a doctor who will refer you to a urologist. The urologist will explore possible causes and determine the most effective treatment.
• Pain during urination
• Frequent urination
• Recurring urinary tract infections
• Urge to urinate, despite an empty bladder
• Trouble urinating or weak urine stream
Some risks of bladder cancer can be eliminated by not smoking and eating a healthy diet. Other risk factors include: old age, chemical exposure (dyes, paints, solvents, inks), cancer treatments to the belly or pelvis, some chemotherapy medicines, and schistosomiasis, an infection caused by a parasite.
Exams and Tests
Upon consulting with a doctor, he or she will conduct a physical exam and ask about medical history to determine if bladder cancer may be the cause of urinary symptoms. A urine test will be performed to check for the presence of blood, infection, or other abnormal cells.
Additionally, a doctor may perform a cystoscopy, which involves a thin, lighted tube used to examine the bladder. Small tissue samples, known as biopsies, are taken of abnormal areas and looked at under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present.
Bladder cancer is classified by stage or grade. Cancer growth in the bladder wall as well as how far it has spread to nearby tissue or other organs, determines the stage of the cancer. How cancer cells look compared to normal
bladder cells determine the grade of the cancer. Doctors perform a series of tests to determine the stage and grade of the bladder cancer.
Tests to determine stage or grade include:
• Ultrasound, CT scan or MRI
• Complete blood count (CBC)
• Chemistry screen to evaluate kidney, liver and bone functions
Talk to Your Doctor
Bladder cancer can go undetected as many feel the symptoms they are experiencing are caused by other conditions. This may be the case, but it is important to contact a physician if you are experiencing any symptoms, so that bladder cancer can be ruled out.
Urology Experts Serving Southwest Florida
Dr. Alejandro Miranda-Sousa and his staff have the urological experience and expertise to help you. Call (239) 226-2727. Online at UrologyExperts.com. If you are experiencing symptoms of bladder cancer or would like to know more, please contact us.