The American Cancer Society estimates that over 20,000 women within the United States shall be recognized with bladder most cancers in 2024. While bladder most cancers occurs much less usually in girls than in males, girls usually tend to have advanced stages and decrease survival charges. Bladder most cancers can also be extra more likely to occur in your later years — about 9 out of 10 individuals are over the age of 55.

Given that your bladder is near your reproductive organs, you might marvel how these organs could be affected when you have bladder most cancers.

HealthyWomen spoke with two specialists to get solutions to probably the most incessantly requested questions on taking good care of your reproductive well being when you will have bladder most cancers.

Lee A. Richter, M.D., is a board-certified urologist and affiliate professor of each urology and obstetrics and gynecology at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Melissa Donohue, DSW, is a licensed medical social employee and authorized intercourse therapist.

Can bladder most cancers unfold to my reproductive organs?

If you will have bladder cancer, it means most cancers cells are current within the bladder. Most of the time, the most cancers stays contained in the bladder, however in some situations, it leaves the liner of the bladder and spreads into or exterior the muscle. This is called muscle-invasive bladder cancer. And it’s uncommon, however doable, that this most cancers can unfold to your reproductive organs.

Does being in menopause improve my threat of bladder most cancers?

There is a few proof that appears to recommend that the chance of bladder most cancers goes up when menopause happens at an early age, however the information isn’t sturdy sufficient to say for positive. There additionally isn’t sufficient proof to point out that hormones, like estrogen, trigger bladder most cancers.

However, your possibilities of having bladder most cancers improve with age. Menopause is a hormonal change, so regardless that there isn’t sufficient proof to say menopause will increase the chance, people who find themselves postmenopausal are at greater threat for bladder most cancers in comparison with premenopausal folks.

Can being in perimenopause or menopause make it more durable to get a analysis?

Blood within the urine is a significant symptom of bladder most cancers. So, when you’re in perimenopause and nonetheless getting intervals, it might be exhausting to inform the place the blood is coming from. Being in menopause additionally will increase your threat of getting UTIs (due to lower estrogen levels), and UTIs are one more reason for having blood in your urine. Your healthcare supplier (HCP) might need to ensure the blood just isn’t from one in all these different causes earlier than screening for most cancers.

But, whereas your HCP is following their protocols for testing blood within the urine, bladder most cancers might unfold and be extra superior by the point it’s caught.

If you’re examined for a UTI and get a unfavorable outcome, it’s vital to observe up together with your HCP to see what’s inflicting blood in your urine. Bladder most cancers and UTIs also can occur on the identical time, so in case you are recognized with a UTI and suspect one thing else is fallacious, it’s OK to request additional testing.

Read: For Nearly a Year, Doctors Dismissed My Bladder Cancer Symptoms as UTIs >>

Can I stay on contraception throughout most cancers remedy?

You can proceed utilizing each hormonal and nonhormonal contraception even when you have bladder most cancers. Bladder most cancers doesn’t use hormones to develop and unfold, so hormonal contraception, such because the capsule or a hormonal intrauterine gadget (IUD), is secure to make use of. Non-hormonal contraception strategies, such because the copper IUD, spermicide and condoms, are additionally secure.

Will bladder most cancers remedy have an effect on my fertility?

Because bladder most cancers not often impacts the reproductive organs, bladder most cancers remedy doesn’t often contain eradicating the uterus or ovaries. There is a process referred to as a genital-sparing cystectomy, which removes the bladder, however leaves the uterus and ovaries in place.

There’s a sort of remedy referred to as neoadjuvant chemotherapy, which is chemotherapy that’s given earlier than a cystectomy surgical procedure to scale back and management most cancers measurement and unfold earlier than the surgeon removes the most cancers and bladder.

If it’s a must to have this kind of chemo, you gained’t be capable of turn into pregnant sooner or later and might develop menopausal signs reminiscent of sizzling flashes or vaginal dryness.

How can bladder most cancers remedy have an effect on my intercourse life?

Chemotherapy could cause vaginal dryness, which might result in irritation. It also can trigger mouth sores, making kissing and intimacy tougher. You additionally would possibly really feel nausea or fatigue, which might make it exhausting to need to have intercourse.

Bladder surgical procedure may also go away you with a urostomy bag, which is a pouch that collects urine exterior your physique. For some folks, this will make them really feel self-conscious with their accomplice. Sometimes, a part of the vagina must be eliminated and this will shorten or slim the vaginal canal, making intercourse uncomfortable, tougher, or in some circumstances, unimaginable.

Communication, persistence and compassion are key elements for each couple. It may also help to create new patterns, discover your new regular, and redefine what intercourse is to you and your accomplice.

Read: Sex After Bladder Cancer >>

Resources

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network

This academic useful resource was created with assist from Astellas and Pfizer.

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