overactive bladder and cancer

Overactive bladder and cancer are two distinct medical conditions, but understanding their potential connection is crucial for early detection and effective treatment. If you're diagnosed with bladder cancer, there's something that could potentially help. PADCEV® in combination with pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) is now approved as a first treatment for patients with advanced bladder cancer. This article will take a look at overactive bladder and cancer, looking at the links and discussing the treatment options.

Natural Ways to Combat Overactive Bladder

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Strengthening the muscles that support the bladder can help improve bladder control and reduce symptoms of overactive bladder. These exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles.

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Dietary Changes

Certain foods and beverages, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and artificial sweeteners, can irritate the bladder and exacerbate symptoms of overactive bladder. Avoiding or limiting these triggers may help reduce urinary urgency and frequency.

Bladder Training

Gradually increasing the time between bathroom trips and learning to delay urination when the urge arises can train the bladder to hold urine for longer periods, thus improving bladder control.

Fluid Management

While it's essential to stay hydrated, especially with water, excessive fluid intake, especially before bedtime, can increase urinary frequency and nighttime bathroom visits. Managing fluid intake throughout the day can help alleviate overactive bladder symptoms.

Herbal Remedies

Certain herbs like pumpkin seed extract, saw palmetto and Gosha-jinki-gan have been studied for their potential benefits in managing overactive bladder symptoms. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using herbal remedies to ensure safety.


Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice involving the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body, may help improve bladder function and reduce overactive bladder symptoms in some individuals.

Lifestyle Modifications

Maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress levels, quitting smoking and practicing relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation can contribute to better bladder health and may help alleviate symptoms of overactive bladder.


Certain supplements, such as vitamin D, magnesium and probiotics, may have potential benefits in managing overactive bladder symptoms by supporting overall urinary tract health.

What is an Overactive Bladder?

An overactive bladder (OAB) is when you feel a sudden and strong need to pee, even if your bladder isn't full. It can cause frequent urination during the day and at night, and sometimes you might leak urine before reaching the bathroom. OAB can be bothersome and affect your daily life, making it uncomfortable or embarrassing. It happens because the muscles in your bladder contract involuntarily, leading to the urgent feeling of needing to pee and making it hard to control when you go to the bathroom.

What is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the bladder, which is the organ in the pelvis that stores urine. It is one of the most common types of cancer, typically affecting older adults, though it can occur at any age. Bladder cancer often begins in the cells lining the inside of the bladder and can spread to nearby tissues if not treated. Symptoms of bladder cancer may include blood in the urine, pain during urination, frequent urination or feeling the need to urinate without being able to pass much urine.

How to Treat Bladder Cancer

Here are the common treatment options:

  • Surgery: Surgical procedures are often used to remove cancerous tissues from the bladder. The type of surgery depends on the extent of the cancer and may involve transurethral resection (TURBT), partial cystectomy (removing part of the bladder) or radical cystectomy (removing the entire bladder).
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing. It can be administered intravenously or directly into the bladder (intravesical chemotherapy) to treat early-stage or advanced bladder cancer. Chemotherapy may be used before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to shrink tumors or after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. It may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy (chemoradiation) to treat bladder cancer, particularly when surgery is not an option or to kill cancer cells left after surgery.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy drugs, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors, work by boosting the body's immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. They are used to treat advanced bladder cancer that has spread or returned after initial treatment.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy drugs target specific molecules involved in cancer growth and progression. They may be used in combination with other treatments for advanced bladder cancer.
  • Clinical trials: Participation in clinical trials may offer access to new treatments or experimental therapies for bladder cancer that may not be available otherwise.
  • PADCEV: PADCEV® in combination with pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) has received approval as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced bladder cancer. This combination therapy offers a promising option for individuals facing this challenging diagnosis. PADCEV® is an antibody-drug conjugate that targets Nectin-4, a protein found in bladder cancer cells, delivering a chemotherapy agent directly to the tumor cells. Pembrolizumab is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that helps the body's immune system recognize and attack cancer cells. Together, these drugs work synergistically to improve treatment outcomes and provide new hope for patients with advanced bladder cancer.

Navigating OAB and Cancer

Understanding the relationship between overactive bladder and cancer is important for your health. While an overactive bladder itself is not a sign of cancer, similar symptoms can sometimes overlap, making it crucial to consult with a healthcare provider if you experience persistent issues. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in managing both conditions effectively.

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