What Is Bladder Cancer?
Bladder is an organ responsible for storing urine. It is located in the lower pelvis. Bladder Cancer begins within the urothelial cells that make up the inner lining of the bladder. There are multiple treatments available for bladder cancer, depending on the type and stage of cancer.
What Are the Types of Bladder Cancer?
Three common types of Bladder Cancer are:
- Urothelial carcinoma:
This is the most common type of bladder cancer. In this type, cancer begins with urothelial cells inside the inner lining of the bladder, most bladder cancers are of this type.
2. Squamous cell carcinoma:
These cells develop in the inner lining of the bladder due to inflammation or infection and turn into cancer later.
This type of cancer begins from the glandular cells in response to irritation or inflammation.
What Are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?
Some common symptoms of bladder cancer are:
- Appearance of blood clots or blood while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Feeling the false urge to urinate and not being able to urinate
- Pain during urination
- Urinary incontinence
- Pain in the abdomen
- Pain in the lower back
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms see a urologist in Karachi
What Are the Causes of Bladder Cancer?
Studies haven’t been able to rule out the exact causes for bladder cancer yet. However it begins with mutations within cells in the bladder and spreads with rapid and abnormal growth of these cells. However, some factors that may put you at risk of bladder cancer are:
● Smoking is a huge risk factor for bladder cancer
● Age factor also plays a role as people above 55 are more likely to get bladder cancer
● History of bladder cancer in the family
● Bladder infection or inflammation for a long-time may lead to bladder cancer
● Previous cancer treatments or being exposed to a certain type of radiation
● Being male is also a risk factor as bladder cancer is more common in men
- Eating a high-fat diet
- Exposure to chemicals
How is Bladder Cancer Diagnosed?
Depending on your age, health condition, and suspected type of cancer, your urologist will proceed with some of the following ways to diagnose bladder cancer:
- Urinalysis: Examine your urine sample to detect presence of cancerous cells.
- Cystoscopy: Insert a cystoscope through your urethra to examine your bladder.
- Biopsy: Removal of some tissues from the bladder by inserting a tool through urethra.
To determine the extent of the spread of cancer and determining the stage, the doctor may suggest some imaging procedures like:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
- CT scan
- Bone Scan
What Are the Stages of Bladder Cancer?
To determine the stages of bladder cancer doctors use TNM system which is as follows:
- T for Tumor : T is used to determine the size of tumor and its location?
- N for Nodes: N determines if the cancer has reached any lymph nodes and if it has how many lymph nodes are infected?
- M for Metastasis: M determines if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and if it has which and how many parts have been infected?
This is how bladder cancer is staged:
- Stage 0: Cancer has not spread to connective tissues, muscles, or distant organs and is on the surface of the bladder lining.
- Stage 1: Here, cancer has gone past the lining of the bladder but has not invaded the muscle wall yet.
- Stage 2: Cancer has invaded the muscle wall of the bladder.
- Stage 3: Not only cancer has invaded the muscle walls of the bladder, but also the surrounding lymph nodes or tissues.
- Stage 4: Cancer has spread to the distant lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
How is Bladder Cancer Treated?
The treatment for bladder cancer depends on the stage and type of cancer that a patient is suffering from. Following are some common treatment methods for bladder cancer:
- TURBT ( a surgical procedure performed to remove tumor)
- Intravesical Therapy or Intravesical chemotherapy
- Radiation Therapy