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Ask Dr. Gott 4/20

'Bladder infection' really cancer

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DEAR DR. GOTT: Please warn women! I had one to two bladder infections a month during the years between 1996 and 2001. I was going to one of the most well-known urologists in my area. When I would go for an appointment, he would test my urine and always there were traces of blood. I would leave with a prescription for Cipro. It would clear it up until the next time.
    Finally, after suffering the awful burning and raw feeling each time I'd urinate, I was at the pharmacy. One of the women working at the pharmacy came up to me, gave me a card and said "I want you to call this doctor."
    I thank God I got an appointment within a few days. The very first thing she did was a cystoscopy. I had never heard of such a test. Much to the doctor's surprise, it came back positive. Cancer of the bladder! I was devastated, and then rage set in toward the doctor who had "treated" me for four to five years and never thought of doing a cystoscopy.
    Could you explain to me why a doctor would let symptoms like this go and not do something about them?
    DEAR READER: Your compelling story proves a point that I frequently make in this column: Blood in the urine should never be ignored or downplayed.
    Your first urologist might have been more professional by performing a cystoscopy (exam of the bladder lining) when you first went to him with symptoms that were consistent with bladder cancer. You were more than fortunate to change urologists; the new one seems like the cream of the crop. Stick with her.
    Because of space restrictions, I have not published your letter in its entirety. But I do want my readers to know that you had successful therapy and are now doing well five years after your diagnosis. Good luck, and thanks for reminding my readers that bleeding from any body orifice is cause for concern and should be viewed as such.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Bladder and Urinary Tract Infections."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have read your column for many years and respect your opinion. I wanted to ask you about pancreatic cancer statistics in young people. Some literature I have read indicates a rise in the numbers of young people in their 20s with pancreatic cancer. This is very close to me, as my only child, my son, was diagnosed at age 25 and died in 10 weeks. It came from nowhere. No clues or illnesses. My son was an athlete and surfer. He had a very healthful diet and did not smoke. In the family, a maternal uncle was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and a fraternal grandfather passed on with stomach cancer. Are we seeing more of pancreatic cancer in younger people?
    DEAR READER: Pancreatic cancer is rare in young people, but it is an extremely serious disorder for which therapy may be useless. I am not aware of any significant increase in pancreatic cancer in this age group, but I am not a cancer specialist, so I defer to an oncologist. In any case, I am sorry for your loss, which I'm certain was devastating.
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