Bladder Cancer: What You Should Know
The bladder is a muscular, hollow organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Bladder Cancer develops when cells within the bladder grow abnormally and form tumours. It usually starts with painless blood flow in the urine and later spreads to other organs of the body including bones, lymph nodes, lungs, and liver.
With early detection and diligence followed during treatment, it is possible to cure yourself of Bladder cancer. Here’s what you should know about its causes and symptoms so that you can get yourself treated on time.
What Causes Bladder Cancer?
The exact reasons behind the cause of bladder cancer is unknown. According to some researchers, genetic mutations play a major role in causing this form of cancer. It is likely that the person suffering from urinary bladder cancer has either inherited defective genes or they may develop them anytime during the course of their life.
Apart from the inheritance of genes, other risk factors responsible for bladder cancer are cigarette addiction, tobacco consumption, frequent episodes of bladder infections, and exposure to different chemicals present in drinking water.
How Do I Know If I Have Bladder Cancer?
Blood clots, change in urine colour, and difficulties in passing urine are also some other symptoms of this ailment. At times, you might not see blood in your urine but might face difficulties while passing urine. This is when you can consider undergoing a microscopic test or urine analysis. There are chances that the amount of blood flow is not visible to the naked eye.
A survey conducted in the year 2017 studied common symptoms of people suffering from bladder cancer. Out of these participants, 85% complained seeing blood in their urine. Also known as haematuria, it is one of the major reasons why patients undergo bladder cancer diagnosis. At times, patients ignore the blood flow in their urine considering it to be a kidney stone. But it is better not to turn a blind eye to it as there is a possibility of it being cancer.
There are 3 major types of Urinary Bladder cancer:
- Transitional Cell Carcinoma: This cancer starts from urothelial cells, which are present in the inner lining of the bladder. Most of the bladder cancers are transitional cell carcinomas.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This type of cancer begins in the squamous cells - the thin, flat cells present on the bladder lining. Although there are only 1 or 2% of this type of cancers, they’re quite invasive.
- Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma is similar to colon cancer and occurs in the cells that secrete mucus and other fluids. One can suffer from a primary or secondary form of bladder adenocarcinoma.
Other types of bladder cancers include Small Cell Carcinoma, which occurs in neuroendocrine cells (nerve like cells) and Sarcoma, a cancer that begins from bladder muscle cells.
What Kind of Treatment Should I Opt For?
There are several ways in which your doctor can treat bladder cancer. However, you need to discuss with them as to what treatment plan would be suitable for your condition. The course of treatment undertaken by the doctor depends on several factors including your age, stage of cancer, treatment preferences, your mental condition during the diagnosis, and other health problems.
Some of the major forms of treatment for bladder cancer are:
- Surgery: For removal of the cancerous tissue
- Radiation Therapy: Conducted for destroying cancer cells when surgery is not needed
- Intravesical chemotherapy: Given to the tumours present in the lining of the bladder that has the potential to develop further
- Reconstruction: Bladder is removed and a new path is created for the urine to exit from the body
- Immunotherapy: The immune system is activated to fight cancer cells present in the bladder and body
When diagnosed with bladder cancer, you may feel that you need to decide the course of treatment immediately. But it is advisable for you to take some time and understand the information you have received about your ailment. Also, do not hesitate to ask any questions to your doctor or consider opting for a second opinion should you need any further clarifications.
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