Are YOU #BladderCancerAware?

It’s May! It’s Bladder Cancer awareness month! The month where we blow bubbles, go walking, parachute out of an aeroplane, bungee jump or simply bake cakes, all to raise awareness of this lesser known cancer!

So what do you need to know about the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer, I hear you ask? Well for starters you need to ‘get to know your pee’ and what’s ‘normal’ for you.

Our pee can show that we have a problem with our body, from something as simple as a UTI or that we are dehydrated. It could also mean that we have kidneys stones or kidney/bladder cancer!

Pee should be a yellowy straw-like colour and if it isn’t it could mean a variety of things…

White = you are drinking far too much, try and cut back the water as you don’t want to put your kidneys under pressure

Normal = yellow, straw-like colour, give yourself a gold star 😁

Orange = this could be you are a little dehydrated, have a drink of water, if it doesn’t change then you may have issues with you liver, so go get checked out

Cloudy/bits floating in it = you could have a UTI/kidney infection/bladder cancer, please go and get it checked out, it could be nothing or it could save your life!

Cloudy with foam = this could be serious, it means that there is far too much protein in your pee, if it continues please go and get it checked out!

Dark orange/brown = you are dehydrated, get drinking some water but not too much to swamp your kidneys.. half a pint every hour or so is enough to keep you hydrated. Ideally we need to be drinking between 1.2-2 litres a day! (If you have a stoma, then it’s recommended that you up that intake to between 2-3 litres daily)

Pink/red = go to your Doctor straight away, this could mean something simple as a UTI, which can be cleared up with some antibiotic or it could be kidney stones or Bladder cancer. Red symbolises danger as a rule.. please don’t be frightened or scared, you need to see your Doctor urgently!!

I would also like to say that if you have 3 or more UTIs in a row then go and ask your Doctor to refer you for diagnostic tests.  In the first line it’s usually a non invasive ultrasound, then a cystoscopy (camera in the bladder)

Research also now seems to indicate that if you suffer with kidney stones, bladder stones and ongoing infections that you are more at risk of bladder cancer so please be extra aware of changes in your pee after all we are in control of our own bodies and know when something isn’t right!

The Symptoms of Bladder Cancer include:

Blood or blood clots in the urine this occurs in 8 or 9 out of 10 people who have bladder cancer and is the most common symptom. Usually it isn’t painful, this can also just be an infection…

Pain during urination or no pain, I had no pain whatsoever!

Urinating small amounts frequently, this doesn’t always happen or you may not be aware of it

Frequent urinary tract infections

Weight loss (I wish)

These are the 4 main symptoms your GP will look for, I want to educate the GP’s that, unless you are losing weight, they do not even think it could be cancer… WEIGHT LOSS DOES NOT ALWAYS HAPPEN WITH BLADDER CANCER!! And this applies to many people with many different types of cancer!! I really cannot stress this enough

I would say if you are getting frequent infections ask your GP to be referred for an ultrasound, this is the easiest way to look inside the bladder, is non invasive, and could well save your life!!

For more Advanced Bladder Cancer, symptoms can include:

Pain in the lower back around the kidneys, this could also mean kidney stones, so again get yourself to the GP!

Swelling in the lower legs, doesn’t always happen and didn’t in my case.

A growth in the pelvis near the bladder this also didn’t happen to me, (am a chunky monkey though, so perhaps could of felt it if I were slim) although I had what I felt like sharp, taking my breath away pains in the bladder area, which I think was when the tumour broke through the bladder wall

Weight loss, not always the case and certainly didn’t happen to me either.

Bone pain or pain in the bottom/girlie bits areas, not sure how it would feel if you are male.

Anemia – feeling very tired and having cracks appear at the sides of your mouth

Feeling so exhausted by the end of the day that you struggle to put a sentence together

Thinking you are pooping blood on occasions… this is due to the pressure of pooping which presses onto the tumour, causing bleeding and doesn’t happen every time you poop either

I kept telling my GP that I knew it wasn’t an infection, however sadly they thought they knew better… this is my body and I knew something was wrong, please please get a second, third and even a forth opinion… do not be fobbed off… if you are made to feel like a time waster, or a hypochondriac change your GP!! This is your life we are talking about!

I got to the point that I though “well no one else is worried, why should I be worried”

Bladder cancer costs the NHS lots of money on a yearly basis as with bladder cancer it does and can grow back, and all they then do is remove the tumour again! There are different types of bladder cancer cells! (I won’t go into them however if you want some advice then please message me for more info)

I was unlucky as my tumour had spread to my lymph nodes (these transport the cancer cells to other parts of the body) my bones (hip bones & arms) and my liver and is a type of cell called “small cell” which is an aggressive type of cancer and will always grow back as that is its nature!

So that’s today’s lesson over with 😁 please, please, I urge you, if you have ANY of the above symptoms please go to your GP!!

For more information pleas check out these websites:

http://www.fightbladdercancer.co.uk

http://www.bladdercancer.net

http://www.theurologyfoundation.org

For my story please go to http://www.mybigfatbritishbladdertumour.com

Published by Anita Brown

Anita was diagnosed with Small Cell Bladder cancer at 46, she lives with her husband Tim, her son Ashleigh and their fur babies, Sherlock the dog, Barney the bunny, Ollie, Fuggers and Moma Cat the cats and Bob the fish. (we don't talk about Bob). They all live in Hampshire, after being diagnosed Anita started a Facebook page detailing her journey with cancer called “My Big Fat British Bladder Tumour”

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