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Treatment Compliance Could Lower Bladder Cancer Recurrence and Death Rates

Update Date: Jun 05, 2013 11:39 AM EDT

In 2013, the National Cancer Institute projected 72,570 new cases of bladder cancer with 15,210 estimated deaths. Statistics have revealed that bladder cancer affects women, the elderly and African-American people more severely than men, white, and younger people. Research into finding ways of lowering these rates in high-risk groups has tied bladder cancer recurrence and mortality rates to better treatment compliance. Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles' Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer center discovered that when bladder cancer patients receive treatment under intense surveillance for the first two years post diagnoses, their cancers' likelihood of returning decreases dramatically. The patients' death rates could also be lowered.

"Even though 80 percent of bladder cancer patients don't die of their disease within five years, most patients will either die of other causes or bladder cancer, require aggressive treatment - removal of the bladder, radiation and/or chemotherapy and/or have a recurrence of the disease," the head researcher, Dr. Karim Chamie, assistant professor-in-residence at the UCLA's urology department said reported by Medical Xpress. "This study highlights the need to comply with treatment guidelines to prevent recurrences by instilling anticancer agents inside the bladder and following patients more closely within the first two years of diagnosis."

The researchers used data composed of Medicare beneficiaries who were diagnosed with high-grade, non-muscles-invasive bladder cancer. Using this nationwide sample, researchers discovered that nearly 75 percent of the sample with this type of bladder cancer experienced a return of the cancer within 10 years. Nearly one third of the patients had advanced bladder cancer progression that required the removal of the bladder, radiation therapy, or systemic chemotherapy. 41 percent of the patients had cancer recurrence that did not spread.

The research team stressed that one instillation of chemotherapy could significantly lower the chances of recurrences. This rate is reduced even more after six instillations into the bladder. Due to this evidence, researchers remind patients and doctors to closely monitor bladder cancer within the first two years.

"Efforts should be increased to offer patients intravesical therapy with the goal of minimizing the burden of this disease," Chamie added.

The study, the first of its kind to evaluate the morbidity of the recurrence of bladder cancer within the United States, was published in Cancer

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