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Bladder Cancer

What Is Bladder Cancer?

Highlights

  1. Bladder cancer affects approximately 45,000 men and 17,000 women in the United States per year.
  2. The majority of diagnoses occur in adults over the age of 55.
  3. Smoking and a high-fat diet can contribute to developing bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer occurs in the tissues of the bladder, which
is the organ in the body that holds urine. According to the National Institutes of
Health, approximately 45,000 men and 17,000 women per year are diagnosed
with the disease.

Types of Bladder Cancer

 Type 1

There are three types of bladder cancer:

Transitional Cell Carcinoma

Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of
bladder cancer. It
begins in the transitional cells in the inner layer of the bladder.
Transitional cells are cells that change shape without becoming damaged when
the tissue is stretched.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is a rare cancer in the United
States. It begins when thin, flat squamous cells form in the bladder after a
long-term infection or irritation in the bladder.

Adenocarcinoma

Adenocarcinoma is also a rare cancer in the United States.
It begins when glandular cells form in the bladder after long-term bladder
irritation and inflammation. Glandular cells are what make up the
mucus-secreting glands in the body.

What Are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?

Symptoms

Many people with bladder cancer can have blood in their
urine but no pain while urinating. There are a number of symptoms that might
indicate bladder cancer like fatigue, weight loss, and bone tenderness, and
these can indicate more advanced disease. You should pay particular attention
to the following symptoms:

  • blood in the urine
  • painful urination
  • frequent urination
  • urgent urination
  • urinary incontinence
  • pain in the abdominal area
  • pain in the lower back

What Causes Bladder Cancer?

Causes

The exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown. It occurs when
abnormal cells grow and multiply quickly and uncontrollably, and invade other
tissues.

Who Is at Risk for Bladder Cancer?

Risk Factors

Smoking increases your risk of bladder cancer. Smoking
causes half
of all bladder cancers in men and women. The following factors also increase
your risk of developing bladder cancer:

  • exposure to cancer-causing chemicals at work
  • chronic bladder infections
  • low fluid consumption
  • being male
  • being white
  • being older, since the majority
    of bladder cancers occur in people over the age of 55
  • eating a high-fat diet
  • having a family history of bladder cancer
  • having previous treatment with a chemotherapy drug called Cytoxan
  • having previous radiation therapy to treat
    cancer in the pelvic area

How Is Bladder Cancer Diagnosed?

Diagnosis

Your doctor may diagnose bladder cancer using one or more of
the following methods:

  • a urinalysis
  • an internal examination, which involves your doctor
    inserting gloved fingers into your vagina or rectum to feel for lumps that may
    indicate a cancerous growth
  • a cystoscopy, which
    involves your doctor inserting a narrow tube that has a small camera on it
    through your urethra to see inside your bladder
  • a biopsy
    in which your doctor inserts a small tool through your urethra and takes a
    small sample of tissue from your bladder to test for cancer
  • a CT scan to view the bladder
  • an intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
  • X-rays

Your doctor can rate bladder cancer with a staging system that
goes from stages 0 to 4 to identify how far the cancer has spread. The stages
of bladder cancer mean the following:

  • Stage 0 bladder cancer hasn’t spread past the
    lining of the bladder.
  • Stage 1 bladder cancer has spread past the
    lining of the bladder, but it hasn’t reached the layer of muscle in the
    bladder.
  • Stage 2 bladder cancer has spread to the layer
    of muscle in the bladder.
  • Stage 3 bladder cancer has spread into the
    tissues that surround the bladder.
  • Stage 4 bladder cancer has spread past the
    bladder to the neighboring areas of the body.

How Is Bladder Cancer Treated?

Treatment

Your doctor will work with you to decide what treatment to
provide based on the type and stage of your bladder cancer, your symptoms, and
your overall health.

Treatment for Stage 0 and Stage 1

Treatment for stage 0 and stage 1 bladder cancer may include
surgery to remove the tumor from the bladder, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy,
which involves taking a medication that causes your immune system to attack the
cancer cells.

Treatment for Stage 2 and Stage 3

Treatment for stage 2 and stage 3 bladder cancer may include:

  • removal of part of the bladder in addition to
    chemotherapy
  • removal of the whole bladder, which is a radical
    cystectomy, followed by surgery to create a new way for urine to exit the body
  • chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or
    immunotherapy that can be done to shrink the tumor before surgery, to treat the
    cancer when surgery isn’t an option, to kill remaining cancer cells after
    surgery, or to prevent the cancer from recurring

Treatment for Stage 4 Bladder Cancer

Treatment for stage 4 bladder cancer may include:

  • chemotherapy without surgery to relieve symptoms
    and extend life
  • radical cystectomy and removal of the
    surrounding lymph nodes, followed by a surgery to create a new way for urine to
    exit the body
  • chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and
    immunotherapy after surgery to kill remaining cancer cells or to relieve
    symptoms and extend life
  • clinical trial drugs

What Is the Outlook for People with Bladder
Cancer?

Outlook

Your outlook depends on a lot of variables, including the
type and stage of cancer. According to the American
Cancer Society, the five-year survival rates by stage are the following:

  • The five-year survival rate for people with
    stage 0 bladder cancer is around 98 percent.
  • The five-year survival rate for people with stage
    1 bladder cancer is around 88 percent.
  • The five-year survival rate for people with stage
    2 bladder cancer is around 63 percent.
  • The five-year survival rate for people with stage
    3 bladder cancer is around 46 percent.
  • The five-year survival rate for people with stage
    4 bladder cancer is around 15 percent.

There are treatments available for all stages. Also,
survival rates don’t always tell the whole story and can’t predict your future.
Speak with your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have regarding
your diagnosis and treatment.

Prevention

Prevention

Because doctors don’t yet know what causes bladder cancer,
it may not be preventable in all cases. The following factors and behaviors can
reduce your risk of getting bladder cancer:

  • not smoking
  • avoiding secondhand cigarette smoke
  • avoiding other carcinogenic chemicals
  • drinking plenty of water

You Asked, We Answered

  • What is the impact of bladder cancer treatment on other bodily processes, such as bowel movements?
  • The impact of bladder cancer treatment on other bodily processes varies according to the treatment received. Sexual function, particularly the production of sperm, can be affected by radical cystectomy. Damage to nerves in the pelvic area can sometimes affect erections. Your bowel movements, such as the presence of diarrhea, may also be affected by radiation therapy to the area.

    – Healthline Medical Team

Posted by: Dr.Health

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