Bladder Cancer

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About Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer refers to a condition in which abnormal tissues start growing in the bladder lining. In some cases, the tumor is found to extend to the nearby muscles.

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in your urine, which is generally painless.

Types of bladder cancer

Once it is diagnosed, bladder cancer can be categorized by its extent to the nearby organs.

If the cancerous cells are limited inside the lining of the bladder, doctors call it as non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This is the most common type of bladder cancer, accounting for 7 out of 10 cases. Most people don't die as an outcome of this type of bladder cancer.

When the cancerous cells spread beyond the lining, into the neighboring muscles of the bladder, it's referred to as muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This is rare, but has a higher chance of spreading to other parts of the body and can be fatal.

If bladder cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it's known as locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.

The most common type of bladder cancer is transitional cell carcinoma, which starts in urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder. Urothelial cells are transitional cells, which are able to change shape and stretch when the bladder is full. This type of cancer is also called urothelial carcinoma. Other types of bladder cancer include squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells lining the bladder) and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids).

Reasons of bladder cancer

Most cases of bladder cancer appear to be caused by exposure to harmful substances, which lead to abnormal changes in the bladder's cells over many years.

Tobacco smoke is a common cause and it's estimated that half of all cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking. Exposure to certain chemicals earlier used in manufacturing is also known to cause bladder cancer. However, these substances have since been banned.

Treatment of Bladder Cancer

In most of the cases of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer, it's generally viable to eliminate the cancerous cells while leaving the rest of the bladder intact.

This is performed using a surgical technique known as transurethral resection of a bladder tumor (TURBT). This is shadowed by a controlled session of chemotherapy medication directly into the bladder, to bring down the risk of the cancer recurrence.

In case of a higher risk of recurrence, a medication called Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) may be inoculated into the bladder to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

Treatment for high-risk non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer or muscle-invasive bladder cancer may involve the surgical elimination of the bladder in an operation known as a cystectomy.

When the bladder is detached, doctors make another way of collecting your urine. Possible options include making an opening in the abdomen so urine can be passed into an external bag, or constructing a new bladder out of a section of bowel. This will be carried at the same time as a cystectomy.

It is very much necessary to do regular follow-up tests to check for the recurrence of bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer is also more common in men than in women, possibly because in the past, men were more likely to smoke and work in the manufacturing industry.

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