Cancer is a disease where cells in the body develop a tendency to grow out of control. At the point when cancer begins in the bladder, it is called bladder cancer.
Every year in the United States, around 56,000 men and 18,000 women get bladder cancer, and around 12,000 men and 5,000 women bite the dust from bladder cancer.
What Is Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer is a heterogeneous disease, with 70% of patients presenting with superficial tumors, which tend to recur but are generally not life-threatening, and 30% presenting as a muscle-invasive disease associated with a high risk of death from distant metastases.
Bladder Cancer most often begins in the cells (urothelial cells) that line the inside of your bladder — the hollow, muscular organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Although it is most common in the bladder, this same type of cancer can occur in other parts of the urinary tract drainage system.
About seven out of every ten bladder cancers diagnosed start out at an early stage — when bladder cancer is highly treatable.
However, even early-stage bladder cancer may recur in the bladder. For this reason, people with bladder cancer typically need follow-up tests for years after treatment to look for bladder cancer that recurs or advances to a higher stage.
Types Of Bladder Cancer
1. Urothelial Carcinoma Of The Bladder
Most bladder cancers — about 90%— begin in the cells on the surface of the bladder’s inner lining. This type of cancer is called urothelial carcinoma (also called transitional cell carcinoma).
Most urothelial carcinomas are noninvasive. That means the tumor stays within the bladder’s inner lining.
Urothelial carcinoma also has rarer subtypes, or “variants.” These differ depending on how the cells appear under a microscope. The variant of urothelial carcinoma affects the treatment.
2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Bladder
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of bladder cancer. It accounts for about 5% of bladder cancers in North America and Europe. This bladder cancer begins in the thin, flat squamous cells that may form in the bladder after chronic inflammation and infection.
Squamous cell carcinoma is most often found in parts of the world where a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis is widespread, such as the Middle East.
3. Adenocarcinoma Of The Bladder
This rare form of bladder cancer accounts for about 1% of cases. Adenocarcinoma can be associated with certain bladder defects at birth, as well as with chronic infection and inflammation.
4. Small Cell Carcinoma Of The Bladder
This aggressive form of bladder cancer begins in small nerve-like cells in the bladder called neuroendocrine cells.
Small cell carcinoma makes up about 1 percent of bladder cancers. It is often detected at an advanced stage after it has spread to other parts of the body. It usually requires a combination of treatments, including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy.
Bladder Cancer Causes
Bladder cancer develops when cells in the bladder begin to grow abnormally. Rather than grow and divide in an orderly way, these cells develop mutations that cause them to grow out of control and not die. These abnormal cells form a tumor.
Bladder cancer causes include:
- Smoking and other tobacco use
- Exposure to chemicals, especially working in a job that requires exposure to chemicals
- Past radiation exposure
- Chronic irritation of the lining of the bladder
- Parasitic infections, especially in people who are from or have traveled to certain areas outside the United States
It is not always clear what causes bladder cancer, and some people with bladder cancer have no obvious risk factors.
Bladder Cancer Risk Factors
Factors that may increase bladder cancer risk include:
Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes may increase the risk of bladder cancer by causing harmful chemicals to accumulate in the urine. When you smoke, your body processes the chemicals in the smoke and excretes some of them in your urine. These harmful chemicals may damage the lining of your bladder, which can increase your risk of bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer risk increases as you age. Bladder cancer can occur at any age, but it is rarely found in people younger than 40.
Being a Man
Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women are.
Exposure To Certain Chemicals
Your kidneys play a major role in filtering harmful chemicals from your bloodstream and moving them into your bladder. Because of this, it is thought that being around certain chemicals may increase the risk of bladder cancer.
Chemicals linked to bladder cancer risk include arsenic and chemicals used in the manufacture of dyes, rubber, leather, textiles, and paint products.
Previous Cancer Treatment
Treatment with the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide increases the risk of bladder cancer. People who received radiation treatments aimed at the pelvis for previous cancer have an elevated risk of developing bladder cancer.
Personal or Family History of Cancer
If you have had bladder cancer, you are more likely to get it again. If one of your first-degree relatives — a parent, sibling, or child — has a history of bladder cancer, you may have an increased risk of the disease.
Bladder Cancer Symptoms
Bladder cancer signs and symptoms may include:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Painful urination
- Pelvic pain
If you have hematuria, your urine may appear bright red or cola-colored. Sometimes, urine may not look any different, but blood in urine may be detected during a microscopic exam of the urine.
People with bladder cancer might also experience:
- Back pain
- Frequent urination
But, these symptoms often occur because of something other than bladder cancer.
Bladder Cancer Treatment
Depending on the stage of bladder cancer and other factors, treatment options for people with bladder cancer include:
Bladder Cancer Surgery
This surgery is done using an instrument put in through your urethra, so there is no cutting into the abdomen. You’ll get either general anesthesia (drugs are used to make you sleep) or regional anesthesia (the lower part of your body is numbed).
Intravesical Therapy for Bladder Cancer
With intravesical therapy, the doctor puts a liquid drug right into your bladder rather than giving it by mouth or injecting it into your blood. The drug is put in through a soft catheter that is put into your bladder through your urethra.
The drug stays in your bladder for up to 2 hours and affects the cells lining the inside of your bladder without having major effects on other parts of your body.
Chemotherapy for Bladder Cancer
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer. Chemo for bladder cancer can be given in two different ways:
(i) Intravesical chemotherapy
For this treatment, the chemo drug is put right into the bladder. This type of chemo is used for bladder cancer that’s only in the lining of the bladder.
(ii) Systemic chemotherapy
When chemo drugs are given in pill form or injected into a vein (IV) or muscle (IM), the drugs go into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. This is called systemic chemotherapy. Systemic chemo can affect cancer cells anywhere in the body.
Radiation Therapy for Bladder Cancer
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.
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