ignorance of the disease often delays diagnosis


  • Only 68% of French people have ever heard of bladder cancer.
  • Blood in the urine is the main manifestation of this cancer and should lead to a consultation for a diagnosis.
  • About 5,000 people die of bladder cancer each year.

Bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer but remains one of the least understood. A survey conducted by Opinion Way for the Merck-Pfizer Alliance and the Cancer Vessie France association, revealed by 20 Minutes, argues that only 28% of French people know about bladder cancer. More tellingly, 24% of those surveyed said they did not know what symptoms need to be watched for to prevent the disease.

5,000 deaths per year

Awareness of bladder cancer is important since the survey suggests that only 68% of French people have ever heard of bladder cancer. Bladder cancer predominantly affects men, about four times more than women, and mainly people over 70 years of age. The main factor of its occurrence is tobacco consumption, which is responsible for two thirds of the pathology. Among those polled, 61% said that they are aware that smoking is the main cause of this cancer.

The good chance of treatment for this cancer depends on the size of the tumor. “People think it is a cancer that can be treated well – two-thirds of those surveyed – when it depends on the depth and extent of the tumor, suggests Frédérick Merlier, founder of Bladder Cancer France. If it is superficial, the chances are better.” “In 20 to 30% of cases, the tumor that was superficial infiltrates the muscle, adds Yohann Loriot, oncologist at Gustave Roussy hospital. And among these patients, 50% have metastases, a stage that cannot be cured today. There are roughly 5,000 deaths per year in France.”

Blood in urine

One of the major problems with this cancer is its diagnosis, which is often delayed. “I had a frequent urge to urinate, so I consulted, but did not get an alert, says Frédérick Merlier, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer five years ago. Eight years later, I discovered urine bleeding. I did not try to understand, I immediately went to the emergency room. Unfortunately, they didn’t see anything. I was sent home. When I had another bleeding, the urologist ordered a bladder ultrasound, which revealed a polyp. In my misfortune, I was lucky, it was a superficial and not very aggressive tumor. And above all, I reacted very quickly.”

Bleeding in the urine should be the main factor to consult. “In the vast majority of cases, the number one symptom is visible blood in the urine., abounds Yhoann Lorlot. However, this can have other explanations: kidney stones, urinary tract infections … Often, patients neglect bleeding in the urine, our patients arrive at the hospital sometimes six or nine months after the onset of symptoms. The bladder is not a noble organ, while the brain is associated with intelligence, the heart with love …

Do not hesitate to be diagnosed

The rapidity of diagnosis greatly improves management and reduces treatment. “The most serious cancers are treated with surgery, the bladder is removed and patients end up with a urine bag., emphasizes the oncologist. The hospital is organized to receive patients. It is better to consult to rule out or confirm a cancer diagnosis. ” The treatments for this disease are known to doctors and allow the disease to be treated properly. “In three quarters of cases, the tumor is superficial, Yohann Lorlot says. It is removed and after, chemotherapy is used or the attenuated BCG vaccine is used, injected into the bladder, which stimulates the local immune system and reduces the risk of recurrence.”

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