The risk of bladder cancer for people with spinal cord injuries is 15 times higher than that of the general population, and it’s higher for people who use indwelling catheters. That sounds scary, but the cancer is still very rare, even among people with SCI, and there are some preventive measures that can be taken.
What to Look for, Who to Call
In the early summer of 2014, Kevin Smith, a 61-year-old C4-5 quad and retired lawyer who lives in Denver, went to his Kaiser health care physician seeking care for some minor inflammation and occasional bleeding around the ostomy site of his suprapubic catheter. “The Kaiser doctors, including a urologist, treated it as a normal wound. That treatment included six or eight visits with a wound care nurse who never said a thing even though ‘sores that do not heal’ is a cardinal sign of cancer. They weren’t concerned, so I wasn’t either,” Smith told NEW MOBILITY. But the wound never responded to treatment.