What is bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in your bladder, a balloon-shaped organ in your pelvic area that stores urine. Bladder cancer begins most often in the cells that line the inside of the bladder. The great majority of bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage when bladder cancer is highly treatable. However, even early-stage bladder cancer is likely to recur. Due to this reason, bladder cancer survivors often undergo follow-up tests for years after treatment to look for bladder cancer recurrence.
How common is bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer typically affects older adults, though it can occur at any age. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 45,000 men and 17,000 women per year are diagnosed with the disease.
However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?
Many individuals with bladder cancer can have blood in their urine but no pain while urinating. There are a number of signs and symptoms that might indicate bladder cancer like fatigue, weight loss, and bone tenderness, and these can indicate more advanced disease. You should pay particular attention to the following symptoms:
- Blood in the urine
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Urgent urination
- Urinary incontinence
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Pain in the lower back
When should I see my doctor?
Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes bladder cancer?
Actually, until now the exact cause of bladder cancer is still unknown. It occurs when abnormal cells grow and multiply quickly and uncontrollably, and invade other tissues.
Additionally, doctors classify bladder cancer into 3 primary types, include:
- Transitional cell carcinoma: Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer. It begins in the transitional cells in the inner layer of the bladder. Transitional cells are cells that change shape without becoming damaged when the tissue is stretched.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinoma is a rare cancer in the United States. It begins when thin, flat squamous cells form in the bladder after a long-term infection or irritation in the bladder.
- Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma is also a rare cancer in the United States. It begins when glandular cells form in the bladder after long-term bladder irritation and inflammation. Glandular cells are what make up the mucus-secreting glands in the body.
What increases my risk for bladder cancer?
You seem to have a higher risk of bladder cancer, if you own some condition listed below:
- Smoking: Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes may increase your risk of bladder cancer by causing harmful chemicals to accumulate in your urine.
- Increasing age: Your risk of bladder cancer increases as you age. Bladder cancer can occur at any age, but it’s rarely found in people younger than 40.
- Being white: Whites have a greater risk of bladder cancer than do people of other races.
- Being a man: Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women are.
- Exposure to certain chemicals: Your kidneys play a key role in filtering harmful chemicals from your bloodstream and moving them into your bladder. Because of this, it’s thought that being around certain chemicals may increase your risk of bladder cancer.
- Taking a certain diabetes medication: People who take the diabetes medication pioglitazone (Actos) for more than a year have an increased risk of bladder cancer
- Chronic bladder inflammation: Chronic or repeated urinary infections or inflammations (cystitis), such as might happen with long-term use of a urinary catheter, may increase your risk of a squamous cell bladder cancer.
- Personal or family history of cancer: If you’ve had bladder cancer, you’re more likely to get it again. If one or more of your immediate relatives have a history of bladder cancer, you may have an increased risk of the disease, although it’s rare for bladder cancer to run in families.
Diagnosis & Treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is bladder cancer diagnosed?
Your doctor may diagnose bladder cancer using one or more of the following methods:
- A urinalysis is a set of tests that detect cells, cell fragments, and substances such as crystals or casts in the urine
- An internal examination, which involves your doctor inserting gloved fingers into your vagina or rectum to feel for lumps that may indicate a cancerous growth
- A cystoscopy, which involves your doctor inserting a narrow tube that has a small camera on it through your urethra to see inside your bladder
- A biopsy in which your doctor inserts a small tool through your urethra and takes a small sample of tissue from your bladder to test for cancer
- A CT scan to view the bladder
- An intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
Your doctor can rate bladder cancer with a staging system that goes from stages 0 to 4 to identify how far the cancer has spread. The stages of bladder cancer mean the following:
- Stage 0 bladder cancer hasn’t spread past the lining of the bladder.
- Stage 1 bladder cancer has spread past the lining of the bladder, but it hasn’t reached the layer of muscle in the bladder.
- Stage 2 bladder cancer has spread to the layer of muscle in the bladder.
- Stage 3 bladder cancer has spread into the tissues that surround the bladder.
- Stage 4 bladder cancer has spread past the bladder to the neighboring areas of the body.
How is bladder cancer treated?
Depending on the stage of your bladder cancer, the proper treatment option will be recommended by your doctor:
- Treatment for stage 0 and stage 1: Treatment for stage 0 and stage 1 bladder cancer may include surgery to remove the tumor from the bladder, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy, which involves taking a medication that causes your immune system to attack the cancer cells.
- Treatment for stage 2 and stage 3: Treatment for stage 2 and stage 3 bladder cancer may include:
- Removal of part of the bladder in addition to chemotherapy
- Removal of the whole bladder, which is a radical cystectomy, followed by surgery to create a new way for urine to exit the body
- Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy that can be done to shrink the tumor before surgery, to treat the cancer when surgery isn’t an option, to kill remaining cancer cells after surgery, or to prevent the cancer from recurring
- Treatment for stage 4 bladder cancer: Treatment for stage 4 bladder cancer may include:
- Chemotherapy without surgery to relieve symptoms and extend life
- Radical cystectomy and removal of the surrounding lymph nodes, followed by a surgery to create a new way for urine to exit the body
- Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy after surgery to kill remaining cancer cells or to relieve symptoms and extend life
- Clinical trial drugs
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage bladder cancer?
Following these useful tips may help you to avoid bladder cancer:
- Not smoking
- Avoiding secondhand cigarette smoke
- Avoiding other carcinogenic chemicals
- Drinking plenty of water
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: February 26, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019
Bladder cancer. http://www.healthline.com/health/bladder-cancer. Accessed 19 Feb, 2017.
Bladder cancer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bladder_cancer. Accessed 19 Feb, 2017.
Bladder cancer. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bladder-cancer/basics/definition/con-20027606. Accessed 19 Feb, 2017.