Bladder cancer is any of several types of cancer arising from the tissues of the urinary bladder. It is a disease in which cells grow abnormally and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. The most common symptoms include blood in the urine and pain with urination.
[Risk factors for bladder cancer include smoking, prior radiation therapy, frequent bladder infections, and exposure to certain chemicals (paints, aniline dyes). The most common type is transitional (urothelial) cell carcinoma. Other much less common types include squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.]
Diagnosis is typically by cystoscopy with tissue biopsies. Staging (how far the tumor has spread) of the cancer is typically determined by medical imaging such as abdominal/pelvic CT scan or MRI.
Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. The basic staging of the disease is either invasive or non-invasive. If the latter, limited endoscopic surgical removal (transurethral resection) may be all that is required. If the tumor is high grade or multifocal (multiple areas) within the bladder then some form of intravesical therapy (medication instilled directly into the bladder) may reduce the frequency and severity of any recurrence as bladder tumors have a high propensity to return. If the tumor is invasive (i.e. into the bladder wall) treatment may include some combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, Surgical options may include additional transurethral resection, partial or complete removal of the bladder, with/without urinary diversion. Typical five-year survival rates in the United States are 77% for all grades/types of bladder cancer but less than 50% for those patients whose disease has penetrated (muscle invasive) into the bladder wall.
World-wide Bladder cancer, as of 2015, affects about 3.4 million people with 430,000 new cases a year. Age of onset is most often between 65 and 85 years of age. Males are more often affects than females. In 2015, bladder cancer resulted in 188,000 deaths.
In the past decade, considerable progress in patient survival has been made with the use of chemotherapy prior to bladder removal for those with invasive disease. Progress has also been made with the various forms of urinary diversion.
This blog is in response to the following article:
LinkedIn.com Article – click here to read
In this article the writer goes over the the hurdles our healthcare providers go through to get paid for their day to day claims. Some of these hurdles are affecting our patient care adversely. In many cases even treatment plans are affected because insurance do not cover certain medications or procedures. This leaves our patient community in a healthcare limbo since the plan doesn’t “want” to pay for a service and the patient also does not want to be responsible. As the article goes on to indicate, many providers who were polled would like a single payer system. While we don’t necessarily agree with this assessment for our practice, we do believe our current healthcare hodgepodge helps only the health insurance community and not the patients or the doctors who render their services in good faith and in the best interest of our patients.
Our practice which has a large young and middle age patient population is plagued with the current HIGH DEDUCTIBLE issue. This means that our patients are responsible for the first $2000 to $5000 worth of medical services. In most instances patients don’t satisfy their deductibles before seeing one of our doctors. Many of them do not need that many services in a year. This causes a payment lag for the doctors services which in turn hurts the medical practice as a whole. Many patients are finding it hard to pay for medical services immediately once the claims have been processed.
Another issue discussed is related to the time and effort spent on trying to get the insurance plan to approve and pay for services and medications. This alone consumes several hours a week of the doctors’ and their staff. This time could be better spent caring for our patients. Add to that constant records requests and all sorts of questioning and second guessing the doctor’s judgement and yes, they go mad!
We’re interested in our patients and would like to see some progress in the healthcare machine that will put the patient’s health and the doctors’ efforts first. Our patients need care, our doctors need to be compensated for the care they provide. Web searches, deferred treatment and ER visits do not cut it. But thats the way things are going because of our current circumstances. Things need to improve.
Thousands of patients annually are plagued by urinary leakage, yet many feel reluctant to raise this sensitive issue with their doctor. Many patients have been led to believe this is a “normal part of the aging process” or “an unavoidable consequence of childbirth”. Although age and child bearing can impact the bladder, this is an area where there are a growing number of treatment options which can improve the quality of life.
It’s critical to understand there are two types of urinary leakage. And it’s important to differentiate between the two as the treatment options depend on the type.
Stress Urinary Incontinence is the involuntary passage of small amounts of urine that occurs when one laughs, coughs/sneezes or exercises. This is often experienced after pregnancy/childbirth but can also be seen with significant weight gain and conditions associated with chronic pushing/coughing such as chronic constipation or asthma. It may also be more noticeable after the onset of menopause.
Stress urinary incontinence is treated with physical exercises. When this fails, there are surgical options. Surgery for stress urinary incontinence is an outpatient procedure with excellent outcomes.
Conversely, Urgency and Urge Incontinence is the involuntary passage of urine that is accompanied by the desire to urinate. Individuals feel they are unable to “make it to the toilet in time”. Patients often describe specific triggers, such as “putting a key in their apartment door” or “opening the bathroom stall”. This condition is often more noticeable with age, and is often worsened by bladder irritants. The most common bladder “triggers” are caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and artificial sweetener.
For urgency and urge incontinence, counseling and behavioral modifications are sometimes all that is required to improve bladder symptoms. For some, bladder medications provide relief. There are many medications from which to choose, including a newer medication with fewer side effects. When these options fail to bring relief, patients may choose to have a Botox bladder injection which will relax the bladder and thus prevent the spasms which are responsible for the leakage. Or, they may choose to try a sacral neuromodulator which is a tiny device that sends an electrical impulse to the bladder to prevent involuntary bladder contractions and therefore improve leakage.
In 2017 we are fortunate to have many tools in our armamentarium to offer to those suffering with urinary leakage. Please give us a call or request an appointment online to see how we can help.
Kidney stones may present in various ways. Most often, they present with intermittent radiating pain on one side and can be accompanied by waves of nausea and/or vomiting. Other, may lead to significant changes in voiding patterns, such as increased urgency and frequency of urination, intermittent flow, burning and/or blood in the urine. Sometimes kidney stones are completely asymptomatic and may be picked up as an incidental finding when patients undergo imaging for other reasons. Patients may have a “positive urine analysis” and be found to have microscopic blood or inflammatory markers in the urine. Kidney stones may be diagnosed with medical imaging such as ultrasound, xray and/or CT scan of the Abdomen and Pelvis. Once diagnosed, if a patient is asymptomatic, it is important to follow them to confirm passage of the stone, either with spontaneous passage or with some type of intervention.
Most often, stones that are found within the ureter (the tube that drains the kidney and connects to the bladder) or those that are obstructing the kidney (which means they are causing backup of urine, thereby putting pressure on the kidney) require treatment. An “obstructing stone” prevents drainage of urine from the kidney and can lead to infection, sepsis and over an extended period of time, loss of renal function. These could also lead to formation of ureteral strictures. Kidney stones don’t always require immediate intervention. They may not need any treatment, other than making dietary and or medication changes to avoid an increase in stone size and number.
Management of stones depends on the location, size and number of stones. It must be individualized to each patient and depends often depends on one’s overall medical health. For evaluation, a full dietary intake with a complete medical history and physical is required. Though most stones are composed of calcium oxalate, the reason one forms stones will vary from patient to patient. Issues may include poor hydration status, acidic urine, high salt intake, large meal sizes, too much animal protein (which is found in beef, chicken and fish). Excessive intake of vitamins C, D, high dietary salt intake or calcium supplements can also contribute. You should not make dietary or medication changes until a full evaluation has been completed. For example if you have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis (i.e. bone loss), and have kidney stones, do not change your bone health medications without the proper medical advice. Patients with gout or high blood levels of uric acid have a higher risk of forming stones. Interventions shown to decrease stone recurrence rates include drinking at least 2.5 liters of water per day, maintaining a normal calcium diet and adhering to a low salt diet. Appropriate modifications can be made once a 24 hour urine collection is performed.
If you feel you may have a kidney stone, please call our office (212-570-6800) for an appointment. We can offer same day evaluation and treatment as indicated.
Dear CIGNA OPEN ACCESS PATIENTS:
Recently, several Cigna imaging claims were reprocessed. CIGNA reviews imaging claims through their third party contractor MSI. The affected claims were assigned patient responsibilities which were not due. Some of you who paid, co-pay, coinsurance and deductible may have received or will receive a refund if your claim was one of the affected. Please note this only relates to claims where imaging services were billed.
You’re welcome to call our office if you have any questions, or email us to askbilling @ nyurological.com.