Bladder Cancer Awareness

Posted 3 years ago

Bladder Cancer Awareness

May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month and a time for those affected by bladder cancer to join together in an effort to increase awareness of the disease.

If you have been recently diagnosed, you are not alone on this journey.  Bladder cancer is the 4th most common cancer among men in the United States. The five-year survival rate for individuals with bladder cancer is 77% when compared to the population, however, this rate rises to 96% if the tumor has not spread beyond the lining of the bladder wall. Around half of cases are diagnosed at this stage.

Blood in your urine or hematuria is the most common symptom of bladder cancer and should be taken seriously. About 4 in every 5 people with bladder cancer will experience hematuria as the first sign.

Other signs and symptoms may include:

Painful urination

Increase in the frequency of urination

Strong feelings of urgency at the time of urination

A weak stream and little urine output despite having a full bladder

Lower back pain

Change in appetite


Risk factors for a bladder cancer diagnosis:

Smoking cigarettes

Workplace exposure to harmful chemicals such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine

Dietary supplements containing aristolochic acid

Arsenic in drinking water

Not drinking enough fluids so your body cannot flush toxins properly

Genetics and family history


Though bladder cancer can affect anyone, it most often occurs in older adults. Urinary system cancer is most common in men aged 55 years or older.

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) has an abundance of educational and supportive resources for anyone diagnosed with bladder cancer.  They have contact information to numerous support groups, meeting virtually, across the country so you can speak with others who may have the same diagnosis as you.

Other good online resources for information include the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. However, your best source of information is your Ironwood physician. Your doctors at Ironwood are always available to answer your questions and provide solutions to health concerns you may be experiencing because of your bladder cancer.

Ironwood also has General Cancer Support groups you can participate. These groups are open to anyone in the community that is facing a cancer diagnosis. Contact Supportive Care Services at Ironwood to learn about the availability of support groups. Our Social Work team can help find one that may be a good fit for you.

About Nicole McCallister, LMSW

Nicole McCallister

Nicole McCallister

Nicole McCallister is a Licensed Master Social Worker.  Nicole received her Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State University in August 2017.  She received her Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Studies in April 2003 from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, MI.

About Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers (ICRC) is the largest multi-specialty oncology network in the Greater Metro Phoenix area. They have over 100 medical providers, a robust Integrative Services program, and a dedicated clinical research department. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers has 15 valley locations and five comprehensive cancer care centers that offer a multi-disciplinary approach for expedited personalized patient care. For more information, please visit