The cancer that starts in your bladder, the organ that stores urine before you let it out, is termed as bladder cancer. Here’s what you need to know about how this form of cancer can be successfully treated.
Located in the pelvis, the bladder is a part of the urinary tract that is responsible for storing your urine till it is let out. Bladder cancer is the cancer that starts in your bladder, in other words, when the cancer cells start growing out of control in the bladder. Even though this form of cancer can occur at any age, it usually affects older people. If bladder cancer is diagnosed and treated in its early stages, the prognosis is very positive. Fortunately, most cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed early and therefore, successfully treated.
According to the American Cancer Society, around 74,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year in the US. The majority of bladder cancer cases occur when there is an abnormal growth of cells that form the inside lining of the bladder, or as it is otherwise known, transitional cell cancer. Some of the other examples of bladder cancer include adenocarcinoma, sarcoma, small cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
The exact cause of bladder cancer is not known, however, there are a number of risk factors that are associated with it. Chemicals in the environment, changes in the DNA, and smoking are some of risk factors for developing this form of cancer. Experts state that smokers are twice more likely to develop bladder cancer than nonsmokers, and they also believe that around half of the bladder cancer cases can be attributed to smoking. Some of the most common symptoms of this cancer are blood in the urine, frequent urination, feeling pain during urination, and recurrent urinary tract infections.
Visit your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. The doctor will then conduct a few exams and tests including a physical exam, a urine test, and cystoscopy, to determine if you are suffering from bladder cancer. If you are diagnosed with this cancer, you will undergo a few more tests to determine the stage and grade of your cancer. The grade of the cancer is usually determined by comparing the cancer cells with the normal bladder cells, while the stage of the cancer is established by the cancer growth and the spread of the cancer to other tissues and organs. The selection of the treatment options greatly depends upon the grade and the stage of your cancer.
Choosing the ideal treatment method for your bladder cancer depends upon a number of factors such as your overall health, your age, the stage of the cancer, the type of cancer, and your preferences. Your chances of successful recovery are higher if it diagnosed at an earlier stage. The treatment options available to you are surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy.
This treatment method involves undergoing an operation where the surgeon removes the tumor. There are various types of surgery that are used in the treatment of bladder cancer; the doctor will choose the most beneficial surgical option depending upon the grade and the stage of your cancer. These surgical options include:
The surgical removal of the entire bladder, sometimes even the surrounding tissues and organs, is known as radical cystectomy. There are only certain specific bladder cancers, where only a part of the bladder is removed or partial cystectomy is done.
This is one of the surgical procedures for bladder cancer that is used for diagnosis, staging, as well as treatment. During this surgical procedure, the tumor is removed by inserting a cystoscope into your bladder through the urethra. The tumor is actually removed by using a tool with a laser, a small wire loop, or high frequency electricity (fulguration). Before this procedure begins, you are given an anesthetic in order to block pain awareness.
If your bladder is removed during cystectomy, it is important to create a new way to pass the urine out of your body. This is where the surgical procedure of urinary diversion comes in. One of the ways to do this is to simply use a section of the small intestine to divert urine to an opening on the outside of the body, and then use a bag attached to this opening to drain the urine. Another way is to use a part of the intestine to create a urinary reservoir that performs the function of the bladder. However, if this method is used, you will not experience any urge to urinate and will have to learn to pass the urine on schedule.
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