Bladder cancer in the elderly

About a month ago during a routine checkup, Dad’s bladder cancer was found to have come out of remission. On the bright side of this less than cheerful news, the tumors were small and the surgeon thought they might respond well to a new type of in-surgery chemotherapy treatment. So, Dad’s surgery was scheduled for what would be the 18th of September.

However, the surgeon sustained a sports injury a couple of weeks back, and won’t be able to operate again until October. Although it isn’t particularly customary in medicine, Dad’s doctor transferred his case temporarily to his colleague so Dad could have his surgery this Friday. I thanked the colleague profusely, and left a Thank you card for Dad’s regular doctor, at the pre-op appointment this morning. Then, we rushed on to get Dad’s pre-op tests worked up before heading out to lunch at a café nearby.

We will find out the pathology report in October at the follow-up visit. Until then, Dad will have a chance to rest and heal.

Here’s a few resources below.

I found a great resource from the National Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/bladder

The National Cancer Society published a nice guide on caring for cancer patients at home:

http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002818-pdf.pdf

And one specifically for bladder cancer:

http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003085-pdf.pdf

Here’s a few bladder cancer factoids:

  • Bladder cancer affects over 74,000 people each year in the US, and has a 20% mortality rate. Most of the patients are elderly men.
  • Most people have a transitional cell cancer (TCC). Transitional epithelial cells line the bladder and allow stretching of the bladder when it fills.
  • Med techs screen urine samples for transitional cells. The bladder normally sheds a certain number of transitional cells daily. Too many transitional cells, or cells that have an abnormal appearance, on a urine screen is a red flag for us med techs and we report it out as an abnormal result for the doctor to follow up on.
  • Bladder cancer can cause the same symptoms as a urinary tract infection (UTI). Therefore, if an elderly man is experiencing symptoms of a UTI, it is best to seek treatment to rule out the possibility of bladder cancer.
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