Bladder Cancer and Now Skin Cancer
Back in September of 2016 was when I was first told that I had bladder cancer. By the end of January 2017, I had had a radical cystectomy (a surgery where the bladder is removed).
I thought that that was me done with cancer, but oh no, this was not to be the case. In July of this year (2019), I was diagnosed with a second cancer. This time, it was skin cancer. However, it seems that I'm not alone.
Many people live with bladder AND skin cancers
In our recent Bladder Cancer In America 2019 survey, a whopping 18% of respondents shared that they too have since been diagnosed with skin cancer in addition to their bladder cancer. This was by far the highest of all second cancers recorded in our 2019 survey, with 5% reporting also being diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4% with breast cancer.
It's always worthwhile chatting with your doctor to discuss any possible risks of future cancers and what to look out for.
So, why is it that can we get a second cancer?
Well, unfortunately, already having had one cancer diagnosis does not mean that you are less likely to receive a second, unrelated one. In fact, for some cancers such as lung cancer, indeed our odds can be higher.
Bladder cancer patients, and indeed cancer patients in general, are surviving longer than they did in the past. As a result, now more second cancers are being identified and recorded. Longer and more frequent monitoring after an initial cancer diagnosis is also helping to identify second cancers.
Why skin cancer?
Well, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the USA and indeed worldwide.
It's been recently reported that 1 in 5 Americans will get diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70. That's at least 20% of the population, and unfortunately, the numbers are still rising.1
The following factors can increase our risk of developing skin cancer:2
- Indoor tanning - that healthy, brown glow that you are trying to achieve is not, in fact, healthy. It's your skin showing you that your DNA has been damaged.
- Having red hair
- Having pale skin
- Getting badly sunburned, even once, can dramatically increase your risk of skin cancer
- Having an organ transplant
- Genetic make up
- Having atypical moles
- Not using sunscreen before exposure to UVA and UVB rays
How can we help protect ourselves from skin cancer?
- Firstly, it's really important, and I can't stress this enough, that you attend ALL follow-up appointments!
- Remain "vigilant" - take notice of and report any changes in your body.
- If you smoke - STOP! (TIP: speak to your doctor and ask if there are any smoking cessation classes in your area. It's been proven that in attending a support group you are much more likely to be able to quit successfully.)
- Ensure you have a good, nutritious diet. Consider, where possible, buying organic. (TIP: have a go at growing some of your own veggies.)
- Drink alcohol in moderation. (TIP: consider swapping your usual drink for one with a lower alcoholic volume. Or even try alcohol-free drinks. There are some pretty tasty ones on the market these days.)
- ALWAYS use sunscreen, preferably a high factor one, on all areas of the body that are exposed to sunlight. (TIP: use moisturizers with an already added minimum SPF of 15.)
- Do not use sunbeds - ultraviolet radiation is a known carcinogen.
- Sit in the shade rather than in direct sunlight and wear a hat. Consider wearing long, loose cotton or natural fiber clothing, rather than shorts and vest tops.
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