The "Moon River Man", Andy Williams passed away this week. The late crooner had been battling bladder cancer for a year. He had announced at one of his shows last December at the Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri that he was fighting bladder cancer. Andy Williams' name can be added to the list of other famous people who have lost their lives to this disease. Some of the others include: writer Dominick Dunne, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, & actors Jack Lemmon, Ray Bolger, & Telly Savalas. While the exact cause of all bladder cancers is unknown, there ARE some significant risk factors for the disease. SMOKING is a big one-it's responsible for as many as half of all bladder cancer cases in men, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Other known risk factors include being exposed to certain carcinogenic chemicals at work (people who work in rubber, dye, aluminum & truck-driving fields may have a higher risk than others).having taken the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide, have had radiation treatments for cervical cancer in the past, & bladder infection in some cases. Like many other cancers, bladder cancer is deadlier if it is in a higher stage & has spread to other parts of the body. Stage 4 bladder cancer has a 15% 5 year survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society. This year, there are expected to be 14,880 deaths from bladder cancer, & 73,510 new cases of the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of bladder cancer include problems with urinating-blood in the urine, pain while urinating, & having to urinate more than usual-as well as pain in the back & pelvic area. If you or a family member or friend are experiencing any of these symptoms, I would encourage you to contact your local health care provider(s). I think the finest source of information is the bladder cancer webcafe. I've been a member for 5 or 6 years & they have been invaluable to me...especially during my "dark days". I've made some great friends on the cafe & unfortunately lost several of those wonderful friends along the way to this insidious disease. As a bladder cancer survivor, I'm sure I speak for many of us, that when we read or hear of some famous person succumbing to bladder cancer, we are just waiting for the other shoe to drop & often times it does. I suggest you google the bladdercancerwebcafe. Another good source of information is BCAN, the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. Check out BCAN on the web or you can e-mail them at: (888 901 BCAN's the toll free phone number). Who can forget old Andy singing "Moon River" along with all his old Christmas specials on television. Moon River, wider than a mile!