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Dr. Patel previews BCAN Think Tank discussion on the carcinogenesis of bladder cancer


"We've made a lot of big strides in smoking incidence, however, we're still seeing the bladder cancer rates, even though a slight decrease, we're still seeing it holding on," says Sunil H. Patel, MD, MA.

In this video, Sunil H. Patel, MD, MA, highlights an upcoming session at the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) Think Tank titled, “Carcinogenesis of Bladder Cancer: Exploring/Uncovering Environmental and Internal Risk Factors." The BCAN Think Tank will be held from August 2–4, 2023 in Washington DC, with this session to be delivered on August 3, 2023. Patel is an associate professor of urology and oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

Video Transcript:

This session is really focused on environmental risk factors and other means of carcinogenesis in bladder cancer. The thought process is we know bladder cancer has a lot of risk factors, which I'll go over in a little bit. However, the main one is smoking. The incidence of bladder cancer has dropped a little bit over the years. However, it's still holding on relatively steady, maybe dropping 1% here and there. But about 82,000 cases will be diagnosed in men, and about roughly about 16,000 of those 82,000 patients will result in a death from bladder cancer, so relatively significant cancer statistics. If you look at the overall trends from bladder cancer incidence, and you look at smoking rates, back in the 40s and 50s, almost half the US population was smoking. So, those rates were around 44% to 45% back in those decades. Given that smoking cessation, as well as all the information discovered about smoking-related adverse effects, smoking rates have decreased significantly, down to in the 20s, 20% in the early 2000s. So, 2005 rolls around, still around 20%.

Most recently, in the most modern era, in 2021 in 2023, smoking rates are as little as 10% to 11%. We've made a lot of big strides in smoking incidence, however, we're still seeing the bladder cancer rates, even though a slight decrease, we're still seeing it holding on. Knowing bladder cancer and its risk factors and the predispositions, we really wanted to focus on the other causes of carcinogenesis or the development of bladder cancer. Even when smoking rates [are] going down, we're still holding on. If we can decrease the incidence rate, we can make a lot more strides in preventing bladder cancer. The goal of this session is really to look at the other things that can be causing bladder cancer and looking at it from a germline standpoint–so mutation standpoint, almost like a genetic– and looking at extrinsic or external environmental risk factors. But also looking at intrinsic risk factors or the urinary microbiome and the internal environment of the body to see if those can contribute to increasing risk factors or development of bladder cancer.

This transcription has been edited for clarity.

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