Bladder Cancer – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments!

Bladder Cancer – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments that we should all be aware of. Also,  bladder cancer occurs in the tissues of the bladder, which is the organ in the body that contains urine. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 45,000 men and 17,000 women a year are diagnosed with the condition.

Bladder Cancer is the seventh most common cancer . The bladder is a hollow, muscular, balloon-like organ that collects and stores urine, which is in the lower part of the belly (abdomen), called the pelvis.

Types of Bladder Cancer:  There are three types of bladder cancer :

Transitional Cell Carcinoma: Transitional  cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer . It starts in transitional cells in the inner layer of the bladder. Transitional cells are cells that change shape without being damaged when tissue is stretched.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Squamous  cell carcinoma is a rare cancer. It starts when thin, flat squamous cells form in the bladder after a prolonged bladder infection or irritation.

Adenocarcinoma:  Adenocarcinoma is also a rare cancer. It starts 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.

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

  • blood in urine
  • Pain when urinating
  • frequent urination
  • urinate urgently
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pain in the abdominal area
  • Pain in the lower back

Major Causes of Bladder Cancer:  The exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown. It occurs when abnormal cells grow and multiply rapidly and uncontrollably, and invade other tissues.

Bladder Cancer Risk Factors:  Smoking increases the risk of bladder cancer . Smoking causes half of all bladder cancer 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 a man
  • being white
  • Being older, since most bladder cancers occur in people over 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

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

  • a urine test
  • An internal exam, which involves your doctor inserting gloved fingers into your vagina or rectum to look for lumps that could indicate a cancerous growth
  • A cystoscopy, which involves your doctor inserting a narrow tube that has a small camera through your urethra to see inside your bladder
  • A biopsy where your doctor inserts a small tool through your urethra and takes a small tissue sample from your bladder to test for cancer
  • A CT scan to see the bladder
  • An Intravenous Pelogram (IVP)
  • X ray

Your doctor can evaluate 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 has not spread through the lining of the bladder .
  • Stage 1 bladder cancer has spread past the lining of the bladder but has not reached the layer of muscle in the bladder .
  • Stage 2 bladder cancer has spread to the muscle layer in the bladder .
  • Stage 3 bladder cancer has spread to the tissues surrounding the bladder .
  • Stage 4 bladder cancer has spread through the bladder to surrounding areas of the body.

Bladder Cancer Treatments:  Your doctor will work with you to decide which 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 bladder tumor, chemotherapy or immunotherapy, which involves taking a medication that makes your immune system attacks 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 entire bladder, which is a radical cystectomy, followed by surgery to create a new way for urine to leave the body
  • Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy that may be done to shrink the tumor before surgery, to treat cancer when surgery is not an option, to kill any 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 prolong life
  • Radical cystectomy and removal of surrounding lymph nodes, followed by surgery to create a new way for urine to leave the body
  • Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy after surgery to kill remaining cancer cells or to relieve symptoms and extend life
  • Drugs for clinical trials

What is the Outlook for People With Bladder Cancer:  Your outlook depends on many variables, including the type and stage of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, five-year survival rates by stage are as follows:

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

There are treatments available for all stages. Also, survival rates do not always tell the whole story and cannot predict your future. Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have regarding your diagnosis and treatment.

Useful links: 

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

  • Do not smoke
  • Avoiding second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Avoiding other carcinogenic chemicals
  • drinking a lot of water

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