Nanny Faye's Bladder Cancer Journey
- Todd Chrisley’s mom, Nanny Faye, 77, is currently battling bladder cancer.
- She was diagnosed in fall 2021.
- Bladder cancer develops when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow and eventually develop into tumors. It is highly treatable when caught in the early stages of the disease.
Distractify reports how in a June 16 episode of the Chrisley’s podcast, “Chrisley Confessions,” Todd opened up about his mother’s illness. He said, “My mother was diagnosed with bladder cancer and so she is in treatment, and we have been dealing with that treatment weekly.”Read More
Todd continued, “A lot of people had picked up on [the diagnosis]. A lot of people have bombarded us. We’ve had the press outside of our doors, sitting on the street with long lens cameras trying to get photos of us,” he said.
Chrisley said he remains hopeful. “I pray every day, multiple times a day, that God keep a healing hand on her. Everyone goes through trials and we are no different than anyone else.”
Understanding Bladder Cancer
Nanny Faye was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2021, and has been keeping her health battle private for the most part.
Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men, but women get the disease too. It develops when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow and eventually develop into tumors.
“Bladder cancer is one of those cancers that you don’t hear about too often, which has always been surprising to me because it is the fifth most common cancer that we see in the American population,” Dr. Jay Shah, the cancer care program leader for urologic oncology at the Stanford Cancer Center, previously told SurvivorNet. [It’s worth noting that the National Cancer Institute puts it as the sixth most common type of cancer in the U.S.]
There are many factors to consider regarding your risk of developing bladder cancer. The following are some risk factors to think about:
- Smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than non-smokers.
- Chemical exposure. Some chemicals used in dyes, rubber, leather, printing material, textiles and paint products have been linked to risk of this disease.
- Hydration. Drinking a lot of fluids each day is associated with lower bladder cancer risks. This is partly due to the fact that people who stay well hydrated empty their bladders more often.
- Race. Caucasians are twice as likely to develop this cancer.
- Age. The risk of this disease increases as you age.
- Sex. Men are diagnosed more often than women.
- Personal history. Your risk increases if you or anyone in your family has had bladder cancer.
Symptoms of this Disease
Bladder cancer can often be detected early because the main first sign of the disease – hematuria – is hard to overlook. This is great news because this cancer is highly treatable when detected early.
Hematuria means there is blood in the urine. This blood can change the urine’s color to orange, pink and, in some extreme cases, dark red. Hematuria is usually the first sign of bladder cancer, but it can also occur with other health issues too.
“That is far and away the most common presenting symptom,” Dr. Arjun Balar, the director of the genitourinary medical oncology program at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, previously told SurvivorNet.
In the early stages of bladder cancer, when the tumor is small and cancer cells are confined to the bladder, this bleeding is typically painless. Because of this and the fact that these symptoms can be brief and irregular, some people might not seek out medical help right away. And when there’s only small amounts of blood in the urine, you might not even see a noticeable change in color.
According to Dr. Balar, other bladder cancer symptoms resemble that of a urinary tract infection. He even said some patients might find out they have bladder cancer after “many courses of antibiotics to treat what was thought to be a urinary tract infection that simply did not get better.”
“Early acknowledgment of symptoms, and not ignoring symptoms is probably one of the other most important things that you can do,” he said.
On top of blood in the urine, other possible symptoms of this cancer can include:
- Needing to urinate more frequently than you typically would
- Feeling like you need to urinate urgently even when your bladder isn’t full
- Waking up to urinate many times throughout a night
- Having a trouble urinating because of pain or a burning sensation
- Frequent urination, urgent urination, and uncomfortable urination are all symptoms of bladder cancer.
SurvivorNet reporter Abigail Seaberg contributed to this article.