Most patients who already had bladder
cancer were, like the general public, unaware of the link between smoking
and bladder cancer.
Patients unaware of link between smoking and bladder cancer
Even though cigarette smoking accounts for up to half of all bladder
cancer cases, few people are aware of the connection -- including
more than three -- quarters of patients who have bladder cancer, according
to a new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive
This knowledge vacuum suggests that urologists and other physicians
need to do a much better job of telling patients about the risk
of smoking and encourage them to quit, the study authors say.
"The general public understands that cigarette smoking can lead
to lung cancer, but very few people understand that it also can lead
to bladder cancer," said senior author James E. Montie, M.D., Valassis
Professor of Urologic Oncology.
Montie notes that in the first four years after a smoker quits, the
risk of developing bladder cancer decreases by 40 percent. The study
appears in a recent issue of The Journal of Urology.
Most patients who already had bladder cancer were, like the general
public, unaware of the link between smoking and bladder cancer,
the authors say. They cite one study in which only 22 percent
of patients with the disease were aware that smoking
was a risk factor.
In the United States, more than 68,000 new cases of
bladder cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year.
Whites get bladder cancer twice as often as African-Americans and
Hispanics, and men are two to three times more likely than women
to get bladder cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
In addition to smoking, having a family history of the disease also
can increase a person's risk of developing bladder cancer. Secondhand
smoke, the study notes, may be a risk factor but studies have not
determined a conclusive link.
Childhood Cancer Act signed into law
President George W. Bush recently signed the Caroline Pryce
Walker Childhood Cancer Act, authorizing $150 million over
five years for pediatric cancer clinical trials. The legislation was
named for Congresswoman Deborah Pryce's daughter, who died
of neuroblastoma in 1999.
The act, which passed unanimously in the House of Representatives
and Senate, aims to create a population-based
national childhood cancer database and improve public awareness
of research on and available treatments for children with
"This funding will take exciting pre-clinical research out of
the laboratories and into clinical trials. As a result, children with
cancer can participate in more clinical trials and have more treatment
options," said James Geiger, M.D., associate professor
of surgery and a pediatric surgical oncologist at the University
of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Much of the legislation's funding will support the Children's
Oncology Group (COG), an organization of more than 5,000 experts
from across the country -- including representatives from
the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. COG is responsible for
treating more than 90 percent of children with cancer.
"The Conquering Childhood Cancer Act helps COG in its
mission of developing innovative treatments and cures. Pediatric
cancers don't get the attention that they should, and the law is
a great start in recognizing the need for more awareness,"
Geiger said. "This boost comes at the right time; in more recent
years, funding for pediatric cancer research has been down.
The legislative support is certainly a step in the right direction."
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