A survey reveals: over six out of ten respondents have never raised alarm bells to the doctor. A new initiative brings together doctors, patients and institutions: 21 experts to change the path of care for the better
With over 25,500 new cases every year in Italybladder cancer is the fourth most frequent form of cancer in our country after the age of 50: although it mainly affects men, the numbers are growing in the female sex. Yet a disease still little known and underestimated by the majority of Italians, who do not know how to prevent it and recognize the first symptoms. As demonstrated by the data collected for the U-Change project with the aim of understanding how much Italians know about bladder cancer.
One number out of all gives a good idea: 61% of respondents never went to their doctor to report signs or symptoms such as blood in the urine or burning when urinating. Urothelial carcinoma, more commonly called bladder cancer, is a malignant neoplasm that arises from theuroteliothe mucous membrane that internally lines the bladder and the upper urinary tract that conveys urine from the kidney into the bladder, which is the organ most affected by this tumor – he explains Sergio Bracarda, director of the Department of Oncology at the Santa Maria di Terni hospital —. In 80% of cases the neoplasm affects men, but the numbers among women are increasing and the pathology, in the female sex, is often recognized late, as well as having characteristics of greater aggressiveness. The characteristic symptom is the presence of blood in the urine (haematuria), but they should not be overlooked either frequent urge and urge to urinate, burning, pelvic pain and back pain. And recurring cystitis, often underestimated by patients and by doctors themselves. In the absence of timely treatment, the disease can spread to the muscular wall surrounding it and the urothelium reach the lymph nodes or other organs such as lungs, liver, bones. Getting to the diagnosis quickly is fundamental – continues the expert -, because it influences future survival, as well as the therapeutic approach which, depending on the stage of the tumor, also provides for combined interventions including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.
Who risks the most: workers and smokers
From the survey, conducted by Nume Plus and presented during the congress of the PaLiNUro association (Patients free from urothelial neoplasms), it emerges that 34% of compatriots do not know which specialist deals with this pathology, only 52% recognize as the main cause is tobacco (moreover, about a quarter of the cases attributable to occupational exposures in sectors where mainly men are employed), while almost 50% are convinced that the main risk factor is genetic predisposition. Cigarette smoking alone is responsible for about half of the cases – underlines Bracarda, who is also president of SIUrO, the Italian society of uro-oncology -, but there are also other risk factors such as the professional one, for example exposure to dyes (responsible for another 5-6% of cases) e diet, in which alcohol seems to be involved. Among the environmental carcinogens they must be remembered the presence of arsenic in drinking water, aromatic amines and agricultural pesticides. The 5-year survival after diagnosis is about 80% in men and 78% in women, a figure due to the fact that two thirds of the forms are non-infiltrating, i.e. they have not invaded the muscle wall and therefore have a more favorable course and a higher chance of healing. Today they are available in Italy several new treatments which aim to keep the tumor under control when it reaches an advanced and metastatic stage.
The U-Change project
With the purpose of analyze the current model of treatment for bladder canceridentify the critical points and design a future model of care born from the project U-Change, conceived and created by Nume Plus of Florence, with the non-conditioning contribution of Astellas Pharma, which was attended by 21 experts including doctors, patients and institutions. The goal was ambitious: for the first time, to put people on the same level the different actors who intercept the patient affected by advanced bladder cancer in the various stages of his journey – says Bracarda -. The whole panel of experts explored the different dimensions, discussing and agreeing on both the current limitations of the care models and the improvement proposals for building an even more effective future care model. necessary promote effective information campaigns to increase the level of knowledge both of the risk factors and of the new therapeutic possibilities – he concludes Edward Fiorini, president of the PaLiNUro Association —. The “U-Change” project confirms the need for scientific societies and patient associations to involve institutions and other health professionals in information campaigns onimportance of early diagnosis, risk factors and treatment opportunities. Spouses, partners and family members are often poorly informed, trained and supported at different stages of the disease journey. it is therefore important to provide them with pathology knowledge services, listening groups, educational material.
December 9, 2022 (change December 9, 2022 | 15:27)