Bladder cancer has recently become the focus of the ongoing Zantac lawsuit. In this post, we will look at bladder cancer in personal injury lawsuits.
We examine the nature of bladder cancer as a disease and as an injury in medical malpractice, product liability, and other types of tort cases. Our lawyers also discuss the settlement compensation amounts for bladder cancer in tort cases.
Bladder cancer has become a focus of the Zantac lawsuit because the science linking bladder cancer and NDMA is probably stronger for Zantac than any other cancer. These may be the strongest of the five cancers that are being pursued in the Zantac class action lawsuit. So there is a new focus on Zantac bladder cancer lawsuits than we saw earlier in the litigation.
Last year, the MDL judge dismissed all federal Zantac lawsuits. The bladder cancer claims have the best chance of being revived on appeals. Zantac bladder cancer lawsuits continue is state court.
About Bladder Cancer
The bladder is a basic organ that functions as an internal reservoir for urine until it is periodically discharged from the body through the urethra (urinary tract). The inside of the bladder is coated by a layer of cells called the urothelium.
Bladder cancer occurs when cells in the urothelium lining begin to grow abnormally and eventually form into a tumor or mass. Bladder cancer is diagnosed when the tumor in the bladder is classified as malignant, meaning it can spread to other parts of the body. When a tumor forms in the bladder it is almost always cancerous (malignant). Benign bladder tumors are extremely rare.
Types of Bladder Cancer
There are 3 different types of bladder cancer: (1) urothelial carcinoma, (2) squamous cell carcinoma, and (3) adenocarcinoma. Different types of bladder cancer are distinguished based on the characteristics of the cancer cells in the tumor.
Urothelial carcinoma (a/k/a transitional cell carcinoma) is the most common type of bladder cancer. Around 90% of all bladder cancer cases are classified as urothelial or transitional. This type of bladder cancer originates in the inner lining of the bladder and can sometimes invade the outer muscle wall.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of bladder cancer, although it only accounts for 5% of all bladder cancer cases. Squamous cell bladder cancer often develops in response to chronic exposure to irritation, inflammation, or carcinogens.
Adenocarcinoma is a very rare type of bladder cancer that originates from glandular cells in the bladder lining. Only about 2% of all bladder cancer cases are classified as adenocarcinoma.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer
Common physical symptoms associated with bladder cancer include blood in the urine, frequent urination, painful urination, and abdominal pain. More advanced bladder cancer cases can lead to systemic symptoms such as fatigue, bone tenderness, and loss of weight.
Bladder cancer can be diagnosed using a variety of different methods. The primary diagnostic tool for bladder cancer is usually a urinalysis that looks for chemical markers of bladder cancer in the urine. Urinalysis is usually followed by a cystoscopy procedure, in which the doctor inserts a small camera through the urethra to see inside the bladder.
If a tumor is identified during a cystoscopy, a biopsy will usually be done. This involves taking several small samples of tissue from inside the bladder and from the tumor itself. The cells from these tissue samples are then examined under a microscope for a definitive diagnosis of cancer.
Bladder cancer cases are usually categorized with a stage that indicates how extensively the cancer has spread. Stage 0-1 is bladder cancer that has not yet spread past the inner bladder lining to the outer muscle layer. Stage 2 bladder cancer has spread into the muscle layer outside the bladder. Stage 3 bladder cancer has spread to the outermost tissue surrounding the bladder. Stage 4 bladder cancer has spread beyond the bladder to nearby areas.
Treatment and Prognosis for Bladder Cancer
Treatment options for bladder cancer vary depending on the stage and type. At stages 0-1, bladder cancer treatment usually involves surgical removal of the tumor inside the bladder combined with chemotherapy. For bladder cancers in stages 2 and 3, surgical removal of part or all of the bladder may be necessary in addition to chemotherapy. When bladder cancer reaches stage 4, treatment options are limited to pain relief.
The prognosis for bladder cancer is generally good compared to other types of cancer. The overall 5-year survival rate for bladder cancer is around 77%. The 5-year survival rate for bladder cancer varies significantly based on the type and stage of cancer. Once bladder cancer reaches stage 3, the 5-year survival rate drops down to 38%. In the earlier stages, however, the survival rate for bladder cancer is 96% after 5 years.
Bladder Cancer Lawsuits
Bladder cancer has recently taken center stage in the ongoing Zantac mass tort litigation as scientific research has identified a very strong link between long-term use of Zantac and high rates of bladder cancer. This is not the first time that bladder cancer has been a primary injury alleged in product liability lawsuits.
Back in 2010, evidence emerged linking Actos, a popular prescription drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, to bladder cancer. This prompted thousands of lawsuits against the manufacturer of Actos (Takeda Pharmaceuticals) by individuals who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos for an extended period. In 2015, Takeda agreed to pay $2.4 billion to settle all pending Actos bladder cancer lawsuits. This worked out to an average settlement of about $296,000 per plaintiff. This is, as our lawyers discuss below, not an unreasonable inflation-adjusted benchmark for Zantac compensation payouts.
Outside of the Actos lawsuit, bladder cancer most often comes up in medical malpractice cases alleging that a doctor negligently failed to diagnose the plaintiff’s bladder cancer. Misdiagnosis malpractice cases involving bladder cancer are much less common than other types of cancer, but they still get filed regularly.
- Our firm is also seeing bladder cancer cases in the Camp Lejeune litigation
Settlement Amounts for Bladder Cancer
The trial or settlement compensation amount when bladder cancer is the primary injury in a tort case varies. Relevant factors include the age of the plaintiff, the stage of bladder cancer, and the treatment outcome. The most effective means of evaluating the potential settlement amount of bladder cancer in a tort lawsuit is to look at verdicts and reported settlements in prior cases. Below are summaries of verdicts and settlements in which compensation was awarded for bladder cancer.
If you are looking at these bladder cancer settlements amount and jury payouts with an eye toward the settlement value of your Zantac lawsuit, these results cannot tell you with any certainty the settlement amount you might receive for your Zantac lawsuit. But these results might be instructive. Because they line up neatly with our projected settlement averages for potential verdicts and settlements.
2020, Pennsylvania: $325,000 Settlement. An 80-something man’s urinalysis revealed hematuria. He was never told of these results. The man received a bladder cancer diagnosis three years later. He died months after being diagnosed. His family alleged negligence against the D.O. The man claimed he failed to consider the man’s risk for bladder cancer, inform him of his urinalysis results, make a urologist referral, and provide appropriate care. This resolved for a settlement amount of $325,000. This is a case where the victim’s advanced age likely pushed down the settlement compensation for the surviving family.
2019, Pennsylvania: $10,000,000 Verdict. A 40-something man’s CT scan showed kidney stones and a suspicious bladder mass. He received a kidney stone diagnosis before being discharged. Two years later, the man’s ultrasound revealed advanced bladder cancer. He had his bladder and prostate surgically removed. The man required a penal implant, radiation, and chemotherapy. He became sexually impotent. The man hired a bladder cancer malpractice lawyer who filed a lawsuit alleging negligence against the physicians. His lawsuit claimed they failed to appreciate the suspicious bladder mass, timely diagnose bladder cancer, and order follow-up studies. The jury awarded $10,000,000.
2017, Pennsylvania: $300,000 Settlement. A 50-something man suffered from an overactive bladder. He came under a urologist’s care. The man’s urine cytology and flexible cystoscopy revealed concerning findings. He received an invasive bladder cancer diagnosis three years later. The man died four years after being diagnosed. His family alleged negligence against the urologist. They claimed he failed to follow up on the suspicious findings and provide appropriate care. This case settled for $300,000.
2015, Pennsylvania: $2,000,000 Verdict. A man took Actos for diabetes. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer six years later. The man underwent a cystectomy. He alleged negligence against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Actos’ manufacturer. The man claimed it knowingly designed, marketed, and sold an unsafe product and failed to warn the public of its health risks. He received $2,000,000.
2013, California: $2,505,880 Verdict. An HVAC employee received over 30 years of asbestos exposure while at work. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer and mesothelioma. The man alleged negligence against his employer. He claimed it failed to maintain a safe workplace and warn him about the hazards. The jury awarded $2,505,880.
2013, California: $6,500,000 Verdict. An elderly man took Actos for Type 2 diabetes. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer years later. The man alleged negligence against Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He claimed it manufactured an unsafe drug and failed to warn healthcare providers and patients of its adverse health effects. The jury awarded $6,500,000.