The bladder is a hollow, balloon-shaped organ in the pelvic area that stores urine before it leaves the body. Urine is made by the kidneys and is carried to the bladder through tubes called ureters. The wall of the bladder is composed of four layers: urothelium, the innermost lining; lamina propia, the thin layer of connective tissue beneath the urothelium; muscularis propia, a thick layer of muscle; and a fatty layer of tissue that separates the bladder from surrounding organs.
Bladder cancer typically starts in the cells that make up the urothelium. Most bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, when they are highly treatable, but recurrence is likely. To prevent recurrence, most bladder cancer survivors will have checkups for years after their initial treatment.
The America Society of Cancer estimates that 74,000 new cases of bladder cancer will occur in 2015.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer symptoms include blood in the urine, frequent urination, painful urination, back pain, and pelvic pain. Many of these symptoms have less serious causes, but it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible in order for the cause to be found and treated.
Types of Bladder Cancer
Different types of cells in the bladder can mutate and become cancer. The type of cancer diagnosis will determine the best course of treatment. Types of bladder cancer include:
- Transitional Cell Carcinoma – This type of cancer occurs in the inner lining of the bladder. Transitional cells expand when the bladder is full and contract when the bladder is empty. The same cells line the inside of the ureters and urethra, and tumors can be found there as well. Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer in the U.S., occurring in over nine out of ten bladder cancer cases.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Squamous cells occur when an infection is present. Over time, the squamous cells can mutate and become cancer. This type of cancer is rare in the U.S. and occurs more frequently in places where the parasitic infection schistosomiasis is present.
- Adenocarcinoma – Another rare form of bladder cancer in the U.S., this cancer begins in cells that make up the mucus secreting glands in the bladder.
Risk Factors of Bladder Cancer
Factors that can increase your risk of bladder cancer include:
- Race – Whites have a greater risk of developing bladder cancer than other races.
- Gender – Bladder cancer is more common in men.
- Age – Nine out of ten people who are diagnosed with bladder cancer are over the age of 55.
- Smoking – Smokers are three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers are.
- Chemical Exposure – Certain chemicals, such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine, which are sometimes used in the dye industry, can cause bladder cancer.
- Family History – If an immediate relative had bladder cancer, you may be an increased risk of developing the disease.
- Chronic Bladder Infections – Repeated urinary infections or inflammation might increase the risk of squamous cell bladder cancer.
- Low Fluid Consumption – Those who do not drink enough water may increase their risk for bladder cancer. The bladder flushes out chemicals that would otherwise stay in the body if not for the consumption of enough fluid.
- Diabetes Medication – Taking certain diabetes medications for more than a year, such as pioglitazone(Actos), may increase your risk of bladder cancer.
Actos and Bladder Cancer
Actos, generically named pioglitazone, is a type 2 diabetes medication used along with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar. In 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Actos for use in the treatment of diabetes. Takeda Pharmaceutical Company manufacturers Actos, and the company has made over $16 billion on this drug alone.
Pioglitazone is in a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones. These drugs are a relatively new class of oral anti-diabetic drugs that improve metabolic control in people with type 2 diabetes. The drug works by reducing insulin resistance and improving insulin sensitivity.
Although the drug may work to aid diabetics in controlling their blood sugar, Actos has been associated with a long list of serious side effects. Side effects include: new or worse heart failure; fluid retention that leads to edema (swelling); low blood sugar, liver problems, broken bones, and bladder cancer.
Do not stop taking your medications before speaking with your doctor. If you believe you are having symptoms related to the above side effects, call a medical professional immediately.
When studies began to show a link between the use of Actos and bladder cancer, the FDA published a safety review, warning consumers about the drug. The studies, conducted by Takeda Pharmaceuticals found that patients who took Actos for more than a year were at an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
Actos users have filed lawsuits against Takeda claiming the company failed to warn doctors and the public that prolonged use of the drug could cause bladder cancer. Further, Actos lawsuits are claiming the company knew they manufactured a defective product and they failed to complete research and proper testing.
In April 2014, Takeda lost an Actos bladder cancer lawsuit, the very first of its kind, in Louisiana. The federal court jurors found that Takeda hid the cancer risks of Actos and ordered the company to pay $9 billion in punitive damages. This jury award is the seventh largest in U.S. history, and the largest single award over a drug maker’s mishandling of its product.
Trial juries are on your side. Call today for help standing up to large corporations like Takeda Pharmaceuticals and fight for the payment of your medical bills, suffering, time off work, and all other related Actos damages. Actos cases are often complex legal matters that must be filed in a certain time period to preserve your ability to seek recovery for your losses. It is necessary that your lawyer for Actos obtain the appropriate medical records for an immediate review to ensure you qualify for a claim.
We are here to help. We pride ourselves on aggressively fighting to make sure you receive reimbursement for your Actos related harms and losses. For more information on your Actos lawsuit, contact personal injury lawyer Chris Dixon by calling (314) 409-7060, or Toll-Free at 855-55-BAD-DRUG. We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your case.