Urinary bladder cancer (bladder cancer) is the most common type of cancer that starts in the cells of the Urinary bladder. The bladder is a hollow muscular organ located in your lower abdomen that collects urine.
Bladder cancer usually begins in the cells (urothelial cells) that line inside of your bladder. These cells are also present in your kidneys and the tubes (ureters) that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Urothelial cancer can develop in the kidneys and ureters, too, but it's much more common in the bladder.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
People with blood cancer may have blood in their urine but no pain while urinating. There are several symptoms that might indicate bladder cancer such as fatigue, bone tenderness, and weight loss, and these can indicate more severe disease. You should pay close attention to the following signs and symptoms:
Blood in the urine
Pain in the abdominal area
Pain in the lower back
The cause of bladder cancer remains unclear, however genetic mutations may play a role.
Smoking, chewing tobacco, and exposure to chemicals may cause mutations that cause bladder cancer. However, these may affect a person in different ways.
Researchers do not consider genetics to be a primary cause of bladder cancer. They do suggest, however, that these factors might make an individual more susceptible to the effects of tobacco and certain industrial chemicals.
Risk for Bladder Cancer
Smoking raises your chances of developing bladder cancer. It causes half of all bladder cancers in men and women. The following factors also increase your risk of having bladder cancer:
Develop in people over the age of 55
Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals
Chronic bladder infections
Low fluid consumption
Eating a high-fat diet
Having a family history of bladder cancer
Having previous treatment with a chemotherapy medicine known as Cytoxan
Having previous radiation therapy to cure cancer in the pelvic region
Types of Bladder Cancer
There are 3 types of bladder cancer:
Transitional Cell Carcinoma: It is the most common type of bladder cancer that starts in the transitional cells in the inner layer of the bladder. These transitional cells change their shape without becoming damaged when the tissue is stretched.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: It begins when thin, flat squamous cells develop in the bladder after long-term irritation or infection in the bladder.
Adenocarcinoma: It begins when glandular cells develop in the bladder after long-term bladder irritation and inflammation.
Diagnosing Bladder Cancer
The following procedures and tests may be used to diagnose bladder cancer:
Using a scope to look inside of your bladder (cystoscopy): To perform a cystoscopy, your surgeon inserts a tiny, narrow tube (cystoscope) through your urethra. The cystoscope has a lens that assists your doctor to see inside your urethra and bladder, to examine these structures for signs of cancer. Cystoscopy can be accomplished in a doctor's office or in the hospital.
Removing a sample of tissue for lab testing (biopsy): During cystoscopy, your cancer surgeon may pass a unique tool through the scope and into your bladder to collect a cell sample for lab testing. This procedure is also known as Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT). It can also be used to cure bladder cancer.
Examining a urine sample (urine cytology): Urine cytology is a process that is used to examine a sample of your urine under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
Imaging tests: Your doctor can use imaging tests such as computerized tomography (CT) urogram or retrograde to examine the structures of your urinary tract. During a CT urogram test, a contrast dye is injected into a vein of your hand and eventually flows into your kidneys, ureters, and bladder. X-ray images taken during the test give a detailed view of your urinary tract and help your physician identify any areas that might be cancer.
A retrograde pyelogram is an X-ray test used to get a detailed look at the upper urinary tract. During this test, your doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) through your urethra and into your bladder to inject contrast dye into your ureters. The dye then flows into your kidneys while X-ray images are taken.
Treatment of Bladder Cancer
Treatment of bladder cancer will depend on several factors such as the location and stage of cancer, the individual’s overall health, their age, and their personal preferences. The main types of treatment for bladder cancer include one or several of the following:
Surgical procedures are available for all stages of the condition:
A Transurethral Resection (TUR): A doctor can treat stage 0 and stage 1 bladder cancer using this method. In this procedure, they will insert a special cutting tool into your bladder to remove tiny tumors and abnormal tissue. They also destroy any remaining cancerous cells.
Cystectomy: If your cancer is larger or has spread deeper into your bladder, a doctor can conduct a cystectomy, removing the whole bladder or just the cancerous tissue.
Reconstructive surgery: Undergoing this surgical procedure after a cystectomy can help provide a new way for the body to store and remove urine. A doctor can use intestinal tissue to reconstruct the bladder or nearby tubes.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to target and destroy cancerous cells or to shrink tumors and allow a doctor to use a less invasive procedure. It can also treat cancer before or after surgery. A person can take these chemo drugs orally, intravenously, or via injection into the bladder using a catheter (following a TUR).
Treatment for initial-stage bladder cancer might involve encouraging the immune system to fight cancer cells. This is known as biological therapy or immunotherapy. The most common sort of biological therapy is Bacillus Calmette–Guerin therapy (BCG). A doctor uses a catheter to insert this bacterium into your bladder. The bacterium attracts and stimulates immune system cells, allowing them to fight any bladder cancer cells that are present. This treatment is normally given once a week for six weeks and often begins shortly after a TUR.
The side effects of Bacillus Calmette–Guerin therapy can be similar to those of the flu, such as fatigue and fever. A burning sensation may also occur in the bladder.
Interferon is another type of biological therapy. The immune system makes this protein to fight infection, and a synthetic version can be used to fight bladder cancer, sometimes used in combination with BCG.
Radiation therapy is rarely used for the treatment of bladder cancer. Doctors may recommend it in conjunction with chemotherapy. It can help destroy cancer that has invaded the muscular wall of the bladder. It may be helpful for individuals who cannot have surgery.
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