More than 81,000 individuals are diagnosed with bladder cancer in the United States every year, of whom 75% have non-muscle invasive disease.1,2 Unfortunately, half these cases recur despite transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT), and from 5% to 25% of repeated recurrences progress to muscle-invasive disease.3,4,5
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The Latest Research on Bladder Cancer
In 2019, more than 80,000 Americans will be diagnosed with bladder cancer, and more than 17,000 patients will die from it.1 Whether it’s the neighbor we greet each morning, the aunt we joke with at family reunions, or even the face we see each day in the mirror, bladder cancer affects us all. It is a complex, challenging disease, and its prognosis has improved only recently after three decades of relative stagnancy.
Ashish Kamat, MD, MBBS, is a Professor of Urology and Wayne B. Duddleston Professor of Cancer Research at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Kamat serves as; President of International Bladder Cancer Group, Co-President of International Bladder Cancer Network, and Associate Cancer Center Director. Dr. Kamat served as the Program Director, of the MD Anderson Urologic Oncology Fellowship from 2005-2016.
Urothelial cancer (UC), also known as transitional cell carcinoma, is the 5th most common cancer in the United States, and it arises more commonly in the bladder than in other parts of the urinary tract. An estimated 79,030 new cases of UC are expected in 2017. Of these cases, there will be about 12,240 deaths in men and 4630 in women. Bladder cancer accounts for approximately 5% of all new cancers. For the past 30 years, bladder cancer-related mortality had remained unchanged.1,2
Bladder cancer presents an ever increasing health care burden across the globe. The large majority of patients diagnosed with bladder cancer are over the age of 55, with an average age at the time of diagnosis of 73 and an increasing percentage 80 years and older.1 Men are about three to four times more likely to get bladder cancer during their lifetime than women.1
Voided urine cytology has been the gold standard for detecting bladder cancer since 1945. Its specificity nears 90%, meaning that a positive result is highly reliable. But cytology is unreliable for detection of low grade tumors such that only about 20% to 30% of low grade bladder tumors are identified using cytology. Furthermore, up to one-third of cytology specimens are considered atypical because of confounding factors such as instrumented sampling or recent therapy with bacillus Calmette-Guérin.13