From the desk of Beth Battaglino, RN, CEO, HealthyWomen
It’s an undeniable fact. Nobody knows your body like you do. And when something doesn’t feel quite right, it’s important that you pay attention, speak up, and seek answers.
Shirley Norris learned that lesson when she first noticed bright red blood in her urine in 2014. She had had a hysterectomy so she knew it couldn’t be her period. She saw a urologist for the next few years as she struggled with recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) that turned out to be bladder cancer.
It’s not uncommon for women to get occasional UTIs, but they usually go away with treatment. Other women struggle with UTIs for years and have little success getting rid of them. While recurring cystitis is unlikely to be as serious as bladder cancer, it’s always good to ask questions, like Shirley did, so you can get answers.
Commonly referred to as “bladder cancer,” urothelial bladder cancer (UBC) is cancer of the lining of the urinary system. Although UBC is about four times more common in men than women, women generally have a poorer prognosis and blacks have lower survival rates than whites, making the UBC burden for black women a large one. The key to a high survival rate in all people is early detection, but diagnosis can often be delayed in women because UBC can be mistaken for frequent UTIs or postmenopausal bleeding. Monica Cox knows this firsthand: “Looking back, I thought the blood I was seeing in my urine was menstrual or related to UTIs, but now I know it might have been a warning sign of bladder cancer.”
That’s why it’s important that you understand what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to your bladder. What should you pay attention to? What are the signs of trouble?
In our bladder health education program, we help you understand the signs and symptoms, your UBC risk factors including smoking, how to talk to your doctor about bladder symptoms you may experience, and how to regain control of your sex life after UBC. And never forget – you are your own best advocate.
In good health,
This resource was created with the help of Astellas and Seagan.
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Urothelial Cancer Resource List
Urothelial bladder cancer occurs when cancer cells start growing in the urinary bladder and is most common in older adults, with 9 in 10 being over 55 years old and the median age at diagnosis being 73 years. There were approximately 81,400 new cases of bladder cancer in 2020 (about 62,100 in men and about 19,300 in women), so it’s important to keep up to date with the risks, signs, symptoms and other factors associated with this cancer. For more information, please contact your provider and explore the additional resources below.
Resources for Healthy Women