Bladder Cancer Compensation Claims

Bladder cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK and research suggests that it affects many thousands of people. Cancer begins with a change in the structure of the DNA in the cells, which can affect how they grow. This means the cells grow and produce uncontrollably, producing a lump of tissue called a tumour. Bladder cancer is caused by changes to the cells of the bladder.

(Source: Cancer.gov and nhs.uk)

development of bladder cancer

(Source: Cancer.gov)

Bladder cancer occurs most commonly in people aged between 50 and 70 and, is twice as common in men as it is in women. It is extremely rare in men and women younger than 40 years of age. Every year in the UK almost 10,200 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer, causing more than 4,800 deaths per year.

Factors that increase the risk of developing bladder cancer

  1. Occupational Exposure:- Research now shows that exposure to a wide variety of industrial chemicals, can be a cause of bladder cancer
  2. Smoking:- Certain chemicals known to cause bladder cancer have been found in cigarette smoke. Some of the chemicals are then absorbed into the blood from the lungs. From the blood the chemicals make their way into the bladder via the kidneys. Once inside the bladder damage may be caused and this increases the chance of cancer developing. The more you smoke the greater the risk.

Whilst smoking (including passive smoking) has long been known to increase the risk of developing bladder cancer, research shows that the risk of developing bladder cancer is greatly increased if you smoke (or have smoked) and have worked with carcinogenic chemicals

The use of these carcinogenic chemicals is far more widespread than previously imagined.

Although a number of cases of bladder cancer were identified amongst workers in a German dye factory, as far back as 1895, it took a further 60 years for bladder cancer to be officially classified as an occupational disease.

Like many industrial diseases, bladder cancer is unlikely to be diagnosed until a number of years after exposure occurs and in the majority of cases symptoms are unlikely to develop until approximately 25 years after exposure.

Currently the HSE are estimating that we can expect to see in the region of 13500 bladder cancer cases being diagnosed per annum. Whilst not all of these diagnoses will be the result of occupational exposure, many will.

The chemicals and substances known to be responsible for increasing a person’s chances of developing bladder cancer includes these found in paints, coal tar and dyes. As a consequence workers in a wide variety of occupations are at an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.

High-risk occupations and industries can include:-

  • Rubber workers,
  • Textile dyeing
  • The Print industry workers (in particular workers who have used or use carbon black which is used to make inks)
  • The Chemical Industry
  • Gas workers (especially those working in old vertical retort houses)
  • Rodent and Pest control
  • Painters and Decorators
  • Mechanics
  • Miners
  • Leather workers
  • Workers involved in the manufacture of coke and firelighters
  • Tar and pitch workers (including roofers and road workers)
  • Aluminium refining
  • Truck drivers who were exposed to significant amounts of diesel fumes
  • Metal Casters, machine setters and in some cases machine operators in factories.

Surprisingly it is not just male-dominated occupations which are high risk. Previous studies have shown that hairdressers have an excess risk for bladder cancer. Researchers believe this excess risk comes from exposure to chemicals in hair dyes and perms. It is recommended hairdressers minimise exposure risk by wearing gloves and by doing any tasks that cannot be performed wearing gloves, such as cutting hair, before dyes or perms are applied.

(source medicalnewstoday.com)

The Symptoms

  • Blood in the urine
  • A burning feeling when passing urine
  • Passing urine more frequently
  • Feeling as if you need to urinate without being able to go
  • Pain in the lower back or pelvis

More advanced bladder cancer can lead to weight loss, swelling in the feet, bone pain and a complete inability to urinate.

Often the early signs of bladder cancer will mirror the symptoms normally associated with a run of the mill bladder, urinary infection or enlarged prostate.However, if you have worked in any of the industries outlined above or think that you may have been exposed to carcinogenic chemicals used in those industries, you should not delay seeking medical advice.

You should consult your doctor straight away and raise your concerns.

There are five stages of bladder cancer:

  • Stage 0: cancer cells are only found on the outer surface of the inner lining of the bladder;
  • Stage I: cancer occurs within the inner lining, but has not invaded the lamina propria or muscular wall;
  • Stage II: cancer has invaded the muscular wall but has not spread from the bladder;
  • Stage III: cancer has spread through the wall to the tissue surrounding the bladder, including potentially the prostate, uterus or vagina;
  • Stage IV: cancer has spread to other sites in the body, such as the lymph nodes, bones or other organs such as the lungs or liver.
  • (source medicalnewstoday.com)

Bladder Cancer Treatment

The treatment for bladder cancer largely depends on how advanced the cancer is. There are four main forms of treatment:

  • Surgery: including partial or total removal of the bladder;
  • Chemotherapy: involving drugs to kill cancer cells;
  • Radiotherapy: focusing high-energy radiation from a source outside the body on the cancer; and
  • Biological therapy: encouraging the immune system to fight the cancer cells.

 (source nhs.uk)

How to make a compensation claim following the diagnosis of bladder cancer

If you would like to find out more about bringing a claim following a diagnosis of Bladder Cancer then please contact one of our specialist lawyers who will be happy to help you and establish whether you have a claim to make and if you do to ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.  

To start your industrial disease claim, call our specialist solicitors on 0333 323 1636 today, or drop us an email at enquiries@ibbclaims.co.uk and one of our industrial solicitors will be in touch as soon as possible.