Bladder cancer has become one of the top ten most common cancer types in the world, with approximately 5,50,000 new cases occurring annually. According to the National Institutes of Health*, approximately 17,000 women and 45,000 men are diagnosed with this disease per year.
In this blog, we shall know more about Bladder cancer, its causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
What is Bladder Cancer?
The bladder is a hollow muscular organ present in the lower part of your abdomen that stores urine. Bladder cancer often starts in the cells of the inner lining of the bladder i.e. urothelial cells.
Bladder cancer is mostly diagnosed at an early stage when the cancer is highly treatable. However, there is a possibility of recurrence of early-stage Bladder cancers even after successful treatment due to which people with Bladder cancer need to undergo regular follow-up tests for years after treatment.
Causes of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer occurs when the DNA of bladder cells undergoes changes or mutation. This causes bladder cells to grow abnormally, leading to the formation of a tumor in the bladder.
Other causes of bladder cancer are yet unknown, however, there are certain risk factors linked to the disease.
This includes smoking tobacco and exposure to certain chemicals and gases. People with a family history of Bladder cancer also have a higher chance of developing it.
Signs and symptoms of Bladder Cancer
Some common signs and symptoms of Bladder cancer include:
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Back pain
Sometimes the reason for these symptoms could be different from Bladder cancer but if you experience any of these for over a week, it’s advisable to get a check.
Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer
The consultant may perform the below-mentioned tests if s/he suspects bladder cancer:
- Urinalysis and cytology: Here, analysis of urine along with observation of urine under the microscope is done to identify cancer cells.
- Cystoscopy: This procedure is done under general anesthesia, where a lighted telescope (cystoscope) is inserted into your bladder from the urethra to view the inside of the bladder. If any abnormality is detected then a tissue sample is taken with the help of a biopsy, which is later examined under a microscope to look for the signs of cancer.
- Imaging: CT scan and MRI of the abdomen and pelvis are sometimes recommended to determine if there is any spread of cancerous cells.
Treatment of Bladder Cancer
The treatment of Bladder cancer is based on a number of factors, such as type, grade, and stage of cancer, along with the overall health and treatment preferences.
Treatment options for Bladder cancer include:
- Surgery: Surgery is done to remove the cancerous cells. Sometimes, a part or the entire bladder is resected to prevent the further spread of cancer to other parts of the body.
- Chemotherapy: It is done to treat cancerous cells that are confined to the lining of the bladder.
- Radiation therapy: It is often used as a primary treatment when surgery isn’t an option or isn’t desired. It uses high-energy beams to destroy cancerous cells.
- Immunotherapy: In this therapy, the body’s immune system is triggered to fight cancer cells, either in the bladder or throughout the body.
Sometimes, a combination of treatment options can also be recommended to completely cure cancer.
Bladder cancer cannot be prevented but there are certain ways that can help reduce the risk. For instance, avoid smoking, take caution around chemicals, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly.
In case you experience unusual symptoms such as discolored or bloody urine, make an appointment immediately and get yourself screened. Remember, treatment of bladder cancer in its early stages not only reduces the chances of recurrence but also shows better outcomes.
At CBCC Cancer Care, we have a specialized team for treating cancers. If the problem persists, consult with our experts now.