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What to Know About Bladder Cancer?

Jun 01, 2022

Alaska Cancer Treatment Center

The bladder’s function is to absorb urine from the kidneys before excreting it through urination. Bladder cancer occurs when the cells in the bladder tissue begin to increase in an uncontrolled manner.

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in males. The American Cancer Society (ACS) predicts that in 2022, around 81,180 individuals will be diagnosed with bladder cancer, and 17,100 will die from it in the United States.

The majority of bladder cancers are discovered early when they are very durable. However, even early-stage bladder tumors can recur following effective treatment. As a result, persons with bladder cancer often require follow-up testing for years following treatment to screen for recurrent bladder cancer.

Types of Bladder Cancer

There are several types of bladder cancer, but the most prevalent is transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).

TCC

TCC is also called urothelial carcinoma. This form of bladder cancer begins in the cells that form the bladder’s lining. Because these cells coat other areas of the urinary system, TCC can also damage the lining of the kidneys and ureters. TCCs are classified as invasive or noninvasive based on whether they extend into the lamina propria or muscle layer. Invasive malignancies are more difficult to treat.

Other Types of Bladder Cancer

Several other types of bladder cancer include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: 1–2% of bladder cancers are squamous cell carcinoma. It is found on the surface of bladder tissue in thin, flat cells.
  • Adenocarcinoma: It constitutes about 1% of bladder cancers and occurs in the cells of the bladder glands that secrete mucus.
  • Small cell carcinoma: Constitutes less than 1% of bladder cancers and starts in the nerve-like cells called neuroendocrine cells.
  • Sarcoma: Rarest type of bladder cancer that originates in the muscle cells of the bladder.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Symptoms of bladder cancer include:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria), may cause the urine to seem bright red or cola-colored, while it can also appear normal, and blood can be discovered on a lab test.
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Backache

See Also: What Are the Different Types of Oncologists?

Causes and Risk Factors of Bladder Cancer

The causes of bladder cancer remain relatively unknown, but many scientists believe genetic mutation to be the main cause. Bladder cancer may develop when bladder cells' DNA undergoes alterations (mutations).

The DNA of a cell carries instructions that guide the cell on what to do. The mutations instruct the cell to reproduce quickly and to continue to live when healthy cells would perish. The aberrant cells combine to create a tumor, infiltrating and killing normal bodily tissue. The aberrant cells might break free and spread (metastasize) throughout the body over time.

Factors that may increase the risk of bladder cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Increasing age 
  • Exposure to certain toxic chemicals
  • Chronic bladder inflammation 
  • Personal or family history of cancer

In order to prevent bladder cancer, it’s advisable to quit smoking and avoid exposure to harmful chemicals.

Treatments for Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer treatment is determined by factors like cancer's location and stage,

The individual's overall health, age, and personal treatment preferences. There are four major treatment options for bladder cancer.

1. Surgery

Surgery treatment options for bladder cancer include transurethral resection (for stages 0 and 1 where small tumors are removed) or cystectomy (for advanced-stage cancer where the whole bladder is removed). Reconstructive surgery follows cystectomy.

2. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to either target and kill cancer cells or reduce tumors, allowing a surgeon to perform a less invasive treatment.

See Also: Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer – An Overview

3. Biological Therapy or Immunotherapy

Early-stage bladder cancer treatment may include stimulating the immune system to combat cancer cells. A bacterium is inserted into the bladder, which attracts and activates the immune system to fight cancer cells.

4. Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is given in combination with chemotherapy. It can aid in the death of cancer that has spread to the bladder's muscular wall. It may be useful for patients who are unable to undergo surgery.

Final Takeaway

Bladder cancer is the most frequently occurring cancer in males and can occur in females too. Although it is diagnosable in its early stages, it may recur after treatment. So, it’s important to know about the risk factors and prevent yourself from this painful condition.


If you are looking for bladder cancer treatment or surgical oncology in Anchorage, AK,  contact us today. At Far North Surgery, our team of experienced surgeons is known for providing one of the best cancer treatment surgeries in Anchorage, AK. We will help treat your cancer and related conditions.

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