The bladder is a hollow and balloon-shaped muscular organ in the lower abdomen. Urine is produced in the kidney and stored in the bladder until it is passed out of the body.
The exact cause of bladder cancer is still not known. It occurs when the abnormal cells grow and multiply uncontrollably in the bladder.
Smoking increases the bladder cancer risk and is responsible for half of the bladder cancer in men and women. Men are at greater risk of developing bladder cancer than women. Other risk factors are:
Many symptoms may indicate bladder cancer, like weight loss, fatigue, bone tenderness, etc. However, these symptoms may also be related to other diseases. You should pay attention to the below-mentioned symptoms:
If your doctor suspects bladder cancer, he may do a physical examination and recommend other tests to confirm the diagnosis and know about the extent of the cancer spread.
Symptoms experienced by the patient for bladder cancer may also be associated with different health problems like urinary tract infection, kidney disorder, etc. It is always advisable to visit a specialist. The health care specialist will suggest specific tests, and based on the proper diagnosis, he may guide you to the right specialist like an oncologist in case of bladder cancer.
After confirmation of cancer, your doctor may ask you to go for additional tests to determine the cancer spread to the lymph nodes or other areas of your body. They also help in determining the grade of the cancer. These tests may include:
Stage 0: At this stage, cancer is restricted to the lining of the tissue inside the bladder. Also known as non-invasive papillary carcinoma.
Stage 0is: Tumor at this stage is known as carcinoma in situ. The tumor is flat on the tissue lining inside the bladder during this stage.
Stage 1: At this stage, cancer has spread to the connective tissue layer next to the lining of the bladder.
Stage 2: Cancer cells have spread to the muscle layer tissue of the bladder during this stage.
Stage 3A: Cancer cells have extended spread from the bladder to the layer of fat around the bladder. It may have also spread to the vagina and uterus in women or seminal vesicles and prostate in men. Cancer cells have not spread to the lymph nodes or one lymph node in the pelvis, which is not near the common iliac arteries.
Stage 3B: At this stage, cancer has spread to more than one lymph node in the pelvis which is not near the common iliac artery or at least one lymph node which is near the common iliac artery.
Stage 4A: Cancer has spread to the pelvis or abdominal wall or to lymph nodes of the common iliac arteries.
Stage 4B: At this stage, cancer has spread to other parts of the body like bones, lungs, etc.
There are different treatment options available. Patients are usually given a combination of treatments like radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery, etc. The best option of treatment depends on various parameters such as stage of cancer, patient’s response to treatment, etc. Below are some common treatment options available:
You may have to stay in the hospital for 5 to 6 days. This is the time where your body is in the recovery phase. You may experience some complications like shivering, sore throat, sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, etc. These may last for a few days but will eventually subside. You may also experience pain and discomfort around the incision that will gradually heal. Before leaving for the home, discuss with your doctor about the medications and other ways to improve your comfort.
The survival rate of the patient depends on the factors like type and stage of cancer.
Treatments for all stages are available. Also, survival rates don’t always predict your future. It is always advisable to discuss with your doctor about the diagnosis and best treatment option available.
Bladder cancer has a high chance of recurrence even if it is superficial. Tests that were done initially to diagnose cancer will be done frequently to monitor the cancer status after treatment. Any change in the reports may trigger the need to devise a new treatment plan.
There is no way that can assure the prevention of bladder cancer. There are certain factors that can help in reducing the risk of it: