From David M. Waterhouse, MD, MPH, medical oncologist and hematologist
May 26, 2021
Just over two years ago, Arthur Vogt was passing blood clots in his urine when he decided to make an appointment with his urologist. His urologist took samples and ran tests before diagnosing him with stage 3 bladder cancer and referring him to OHC.
Never ignore blood in your urine. Most bladder cancers are caught early because passing blood in urine is an initial symptom. An early diagnosis typically coincides with an excellent survival rate.
Bladder cancer develops when tumors form in tissue that lines the bladder. In addition to causing blood in urine, bladder cancer symptoms can include painful and/or frequent urination, a feeling of needing to urinate without the ability to do so, and lower back pain. To diagnose the condition, doctors use urine and imaging tests, and usually do cystoscopy. During this procedure, a urologist inserts a small tube with a camera into the bladder to closely examine the lining of the urethra (the tube that transmits urine outside of the body) and bladder.
Bladder cancer typically occurs in people over the age of 55, and according to the National Institutes of Health, it occurs four times more often in men than in women. In most cases, genetic changes, or mutations, that occur over the course of the patient’s lifetime cause the cancer. These changes typically are not inherited. “There was no history of bladder cancer, or cancer at all, in my family,” noted Arthur. Longtime smoking is by far the biggest risk factor along with chronic bladder inflammation, exposure to certain industrial chemicals, a specific parasitic infection, and long-term catheter use.
Most cases of bladder cancer are very treatable. Course of treatment depends upon the type and stage of the cancer. Options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and more recently, immunotherapies. I treated Arthur with an immunotherapy for about six months, but unfortunately it did not work for him. We quickly transitioned to a different option. The combination of chemotherapy and radiation has been successful for Arthur. Recent scans show no physical evidence of cancer.
“Dr. Waterhouse told me he had a plan B for every plan A,” said Arthur. “I was fortunate to have limited side effects and was able to continue golfing throughout my treatment.”
Arthur’s optimistic outlook made a significant impact on his treatment outcomes. “I never lost faith,” said Arthur. “I feel 100%!” Arthur is living life to the fullest. He and his wife of nearly 50 years, Joanie, spend much of their time with their grandchildren and giving back to their church and community. Arthur, a skilled carpenter, also keeps busy constructing wooden dump trucks with lettered tiles that spell the word CANCER. He’s partnered with OHC to distribute the trucks to children affected by cancer so that they can “dump” the disease. To read more about Arthur’s inspirational acts of kindness, visit ohcare.com next month for our newsletter story highlighting his generosity.
During this Bladder Cancer Awareness month, my OHC colleagues and I urge you to pay attention to unusual symptoms and discuss them with your healthcare provider. With early diagnosis and the treatment advances that we discover through cancer research, more and more patients are experiencing remission and improved quality of life.
Top picture: Arthur Vogt hopes to help Edmund and Caroline Zhang “dump” cancer with the gift of one of his handcrafted dump trucks. Abigail Zhang, the children’s mother, is an OHC patient being treated for ovarian cancer.Comments (0)