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Cancer for a week

18 December 2012, 20:10
A year ago, my husband Mike & I had a major cancer scare! Guys, this story is something to remember. Mike woke up on Tuesday 20th December 2011 and noticed blood in his urine. He thought it was odd, so he made an appointment to see our GP that day.

The GP could not find anything wrong and wisely suggested he have an ultrasound of his bladder. We got an opening for the scan on Thursday 22nd December. The scan showed up a 9mm polyp inside his bladder. While waiting for the official report, we googled ‘bladder polyp’ and found there is no such thing as a benign bladder polyp! They are all malignant.

In effect, Mike had cancer of the bladder! I left him waiting for the report and hot-footed it across the hospital to a urologist's rooms. They managed to squeeze us in the next day Friday 23rd December last year. The urologist looked at the ultrasound report and explained that even though it is a malignancy, it is very small.

Then he said, ‘it just so happens that I will be operating on Tuesday 27th December 2011 (the public holiday). I have a patient whose polyp is 4cm it needs to come out asap, so you can follow him”. So on Tuesday, one week after spotting blood in his urine, Mike went in for the procedure. The doctor said he got it all and the lining of the bladder was not inflamed and looked healthy.

The polyp was sent away for analysis and as suspected it was malignant, but because it was so small and had not penetrated the bladder lining, no further treatment was needed - no chemo, no radiation.  Mike was told to return for a check up in a year’s time. Last week, Mike did just that and was once again given the all clear. No sign of any return of the polyp. We had been told it may grow back. The surgeon said he could see the scar but his bladder looked perfectly healthy. We are so grateful.  Your health is something to appreciate and look after.

If you spot something strange, have it seen to immediately! The Dr explained that this was the saving grace for this particular polyp. What happens is that these polyps grow and they have a small blood vessel running through them. As the polyp gets bigger, the blood vessel bursts and the blood is passed in the urine.

The guy may notice the blood, but as there is no pain, he may decide to wait a day or two to see if it goes away. It does. So that's that then. But unbeknown to him, the polyp is still there and continues to grow, along with the blood vessel running through it.

A few months later, the guy passes a whole lot of blood. He is unnerved and a bit worried, but remembers that this happened a couple of months before and it passed, so he does nothing about it. Blood is there for a day or two and then disappears as the blood vessel repairs itself. The polyp continues to grow. Another month or two pass when the blood vessel burst and the blood is significant and consistent. The guy is really worried and goes to the Dr.

He has an ultrasound and a large polyp 3 or 4 times the size of Mike's is seen. He goes in for the procedure Mike had, but instead of whisking it out quickly and easily, the surgeon finds it has penetrated the bladder lining and into the muscle where the blood supply is. From there, the cancer cells can spread. Cancer treatment is then needed.

Guys, if you see blood in your urine, even on one occasion, go to the doctor. Bladder polyps are most common in men over 55.

Hope this helps someone.

Helga is the presenter for the Rise and Shine show on 107.5 CCFm - Cape Town.
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