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Poor Outcomes for Spina Bifida Patients with Bladder Cancer

Patients have atypical symptoms and cancer should be considered, even in young adults

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with spina bifida who develop bladder cancer do so at a relatively young age with an advanced-stage disease at diagnosis, researchers report in the September issue of the Journal of Urology.

J. Christopher Austin, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, examined the characteristics of eight patients with spina bifida (median age 41 years) who were treated for bladder cancer between 1995 and 2005.

The researchers found that only one patient (13 percent) had undergone bladder augmentation, while 88 percent of patients had locally advanced disease or metastases. The median survival was only six months. A review of 11 previously published cases showed that 58 percent had transitional cell carcinoma, 37 percent had undergone bladder augmentation, and median survival was six months.

"Patients with spina bifida and bladder cancer present at a young age with variable tumor histology and advanced stage, and they have poor survival," Austin and colleagues conclude. "Presenting symptoms are often atypical and bladder cancer should be a consideration in this patient population, even in young adults."

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