Bladder Cancer

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Bladder Cancer

What is Bladder Cancer?

A Bladder cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the urinary bladder. As the cells begin to develop, they can form a tumor and spread to the other areas of the body. Most cancers of the bladder start in the innermost lining of the bladder, called the transitional epithelium or urothelium. As cancer grows through the other layers in the walls of the bladder, it becomes more advanced and become harder to treat. Over time, cancer may develop outside the bladder, into the nearby structures and may spread to the lymph nodes or other organs in the pelvis or other organs in the body.

What are the Types of Bladder Cancer?

There are many types of bladder cancer. They are:

  • Transitional Cell Carcinoma: This kind of cancer is the most common type of bladder cancer and occurs in the cells that line-up the inner region of the bladder. Transitional cells often expand when the bladder is full and contracts when it is empty. These same cells also line the inner area of the ureters and urethra. Thus, causing tumors to form in those places as well.

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma: The cells in this kind of cancer appear in the bladder, in response to an infection or irritation. Over time, these cells can become cancerous, causing the condition to worsen.

  • Adenocarcinoma: This kind of cancer begins in the cells that make up the mucus-secreting glands in the bladder.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?

The signs and symptoms of bladder cancer may include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden urge to urinate
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Bone pain
  • Swelling of the legs

What are the Causes of Bladder Cancer?

The exact cause of bladder cancer is yet unknown. However, it is usually linked to a parasitic infection, smoking, or exposure to radiation and chemicals.

What are the Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer?

Numerous other factors can increase the possibility of bladder cancer. A few of them include:

  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Paralysis
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Bladder stones
  • Menopause
  • Increasing age
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Previous cancer treatments
  • Medication for diabetes
  • Chronic bladder inflammation
  • A family history of cancer.

What are the Stages of Bladder Cancer?

There are five stages of bladder cancer.

  • Stage 0: In this stage, the cancer cells lie only on the surface of the inner layer of the bladder.

  • Stage 1: In this stage, cancer grows deeper into the inner layers of the bladder but not into the muscle layer.

  • Stage 2: Here, cancer grows into the muscle layer of the bladder.
  • Stage 3: In this stage, cancer grows through the muscle layer of the bladder into the nearby organs.

  • Stage 4: In this stage, cancer develops into the pelvic wall or the belly but not into any of the lymph nodes. Sometimes, cancer can also spread to one lymph node or another part of the body.

How to Treat Bladder Cancer?

The treatment of bladder cancer depends on the stage and grade of cancer. A few treatment options for bladder cancer includes:

  • Surgery: Surgery can be performed to remove cancer. It can either be performed alone or along with other treatments.

  • Chemotherapy: This treatment can be used to destroy the cancer cells using medicines. It can also be given before or after the surgery to kill the remaining cells if any.

  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells using a high-dose of X-rays or other high-energy rays. This therapy may also be given before or after surgery, and may also be given at the same time as chemotherapy.

  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy causes the body’s immune system to attack the cancer cells in the bladder.

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