Cancer of the bladder is said to be among the most widespread forms of urinary tract cancers. Generally, this form of cancer is more common in men who come in contact with cigarette smoke or carcinogenic substances released by various industries. People affected by this form of cancer are likely to have symptoms like urine containing blood and accompanied by pain and urgent or painful urination.
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It has been found that as much as 45% of the all bladder cancers happen to people who smoke. In addition, the other potential risk factors and causes for bladder cancer may include a history of being employed in the cigarette, dye or rubber industries, as this exposes people to a toxic chemical called 2-napthylamine; radiation treatment for cervical cancer; using any medicament to cure other types of cancer; using the drug called cyclophosphamide (brand name Cytoxan); using painkillers enclosing acetaminophen (the active element in the drug Tylenol) in excess; as well as repeated bouts of infections in the urinary tract and kidney stones. Usually, bladder cancer has a tendency to spread to adjoining organs like the pelvic bones and the colon.
Presently, scientists believe that bladder cancer has a two-stage development process at the level of the cells. In the initial stage, a carcinogenic substance obliterates a portion of a gene called gene p16. Since the harm caused to p16 does not alter the cell's exterior, the immune system keeps on treating it as a healthy cell. However, the harm caused to the DNA inside the cell encourages it to replicate itself several times - in far more numbers than what is required to replace the affected cell.
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The gene called p53 is considered to be the body's second line of protection against any genetic harm. This particular gene works like a 'molecular patrolman' by ensuring that the flawed cells are unable to duplicate themselves. Nevertheless, even gene p53 can too be harmed. When no additional signal is sent to the immune system, a weakened gene p53 allows the cancerous cells to multiply as well as spread freely. Moreover, bladder cancers gather hormonal signals that induce growth and multiplication of the cancer cells, particularly from estrogen - the most important sex hormone in females. (Although the body of men also make estrogen, the amount is insignificant). However, we are lucky that the effects of estrogen are very slow and, hence, usually bladder cancer gives rise to symptoms that are visible and can be detected timely and appropriate treatment can be started before the situation goes out of control.
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Apart from surgery, the basis of therapeutic treatment for cancers of the bladder includes the chemotherapy drug cisplatin (brand name Platinol) as well as its variants in conjunction with other medicaments. A number of treatments schedule also incorporate immunotherapy, which involves administering concentrated doses of man-made forms of chemicals that our body employs to synchronize the defence of its immune system.
Herbal therapies may also be very effective for curing bladder cancer provided the herbs are used as a supplement to the usual medical treatment and also keeping in view their medical interactions with different medicaments. The herbs actually work in different phases of the development of bladder cancer and, hence, it is essential that you check with a well-informed herbalist having adequate experience in treating cancers before you start using any particular herb for treating your condition.
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Some herbal formulations and their dosage effective for treating bladder cancer are discussed in brief below.
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You need to consume a couple of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, turnip greens, turnips and radishes daily with a view to put off the recurrence of bladder cancer. A study undertaken recently and involving as many as 47,009 men discovered that regular consumption of cabbage and broccoli (at least five or extra servings in a week) diminishes the chances of developing bladder cancer significantly.
At the same time, you need to cut down consuming fish and meats grilled on charcoal, as these foods enclose a substance called heterocyclic amines (HCA) that is said to be related to bladder cancer. HCAs materialize from creatine - a type of protein that is obliterated when cooked in microwave. Hence, if it is necessary to consume fish and meats grilled over charcoal, first cook them in a microwave oven for about a minute. Alternately, you may also marinate the meat for no less than 3 to 4 hours in tart cherry juice. In effect, scientists at the Michigan State University have discovered that when you add cherry to hamburger, the spoilage of the meat is retarded and it also does away with HCA formation when you grill the meat. A number of stores sell cherry burgers that enclose ground beef blended with little quantities of sour cherry pulp - this does not have the flavour of cherries.
It is also important to drink plenty of fluids, particularly water. Avoid drinking tap water, as high levels of radium have been found in the water supplied to public. As a substitute, you may use steam-distilled or spring water. It has been found that drinking extra fluids, a minimum of 11 glasses opposed to drinking five glasses or less of any other drink lessens the chances of developing bladder cancer in men by 50%.
In addition, whenever you get an opportunity, you should take showers rather than baths.
Avoid smoking completely - never use or smoke smokeless tobacco.
Preferably use glass cookware or wooden and stainless steel utensils for cooking. Using any other type of utensils or cookware, for instance, coated pots, Teflon pans or plastic, should be avoided, as they contain particles that may break away and combine with the food.
In case you are taking vitamin C, avoid using it in sodium ascorbate form, as this form may possibly result in the exaggeration of the symptoms related to bladder cancer. However, you may use natural vitamin C like acerola, as it doesn't have such adverse affects.
Conventionally, one needs to undergo cytoscopy for diagnosing bladder cancer. This process involves sending an examination apparatus into the bladder by means of the urethra. It is a very awkward and painful procedure, which is unable to detect tumors in the initial stage. Currently, a urine test can be performed at home to detect bladder cancer even in its initial stage. However, you can avail this test only when your physician prescribes it for you or the suspected patient.
It is significant to note that very low levels of cholesterol have been linked to augmented risks of death due to cancer. It is likely that this is owing to the fact that people having low levels of cholesterol have a propensity to consume more of polyunsaturated fats.
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