What is Bladder Cancer and What Are the Risks?

The FDA released a public health warning concerning Actos bladder cancer on June 15, 2011. According to recent scientific data, the diabetes drug increases the risk of bladder cancer by 40 percent for those taking the medication for longer than a year.

What is bladder cancer, and how is it treated?

Actos Bladder Cancer Comes in Four Types

Bladder cancer occurs when a group of abnormal or cancerous cells multiply quickly in the bladder, growing together and forming masses, called tumors. The type of bladder cancer an individual has depends on where the tumors form. The four main types are:

  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Small cell carcinoma

Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer, affecting over 90 percent of patients. Cancer cells grow in the inner lining of the bladder, forming either papillary tumors, which are slender and finger-like, or flat tumors. The severity of this cancer depends on how far it spreads.

Squamous cell carcimona is very rare, accounting for only 1“2 percent of bladder cancer cases in the U.S. Adenocarcinoma is also rare, with the cancer cells being similar to those that form in colon cancer and typically starting in the cells that release mucous and other fluids. Finally, small cell carcinoma affects less than one percent of patients, and starts in the nerve-like cells called neuroendocrine cells.

Bladder Cancer Risk Depends on Different Factors

Scientists still aren’t sure what causes bladder cancer, though an individual’s risk can depend on several lifestyle factors. Smoking cigarettes is one of the biggest risks, and is estimated to cause about half of the bladder cancer cases in the U.S. Being a male and being over 40 years of age also contributes to bladder cancer risk, as does being white and having a family history of cancer. Some chemicals are also linked to bladder cancer risk, including arsenic and chemicals used to manufacture dyes, rubber, leather, paint, and textiles.

Studies have also shown that those taking the diabetes drug Actos are also at an increased bladder cancer risk, particular if they take it for longer than a year, or take particularly high cumulative doses.

Bladder Cancer Treatment Outlook Typically Good

If bladder cancer is found early, the bladder cancer treatment outlook is typically very good. Bladder cancer caught in its early stages can be treated with surgery to remove the tumor and potentially a small portion of the bladder. Depending on the severity of the cancer and how far it’s spread, chemotherapy and radiation may also be used to destroy cancer cells.

More invasive or aggressive bladder cancer may require surgery to remove the entire bladder and to create a new way for urine to leave the body. Immunotherapies may also help the body attack it’s own bladder cancer cells.

A Bladder Cancer Lawyer May be Able to Help

If you or a loved one has experienced bladder cancer as a result of using Actos, you may be eligible for compensation in a bladder cancer lawsuit. Contact Chaffin Luhana LLP today for a confidential case evaluation at 1-888-480-1123.