The bladder is an organ in the lower pelvis which performs the function of collecting and storing the urine produced by the kidneys. Urinary Bladder Cancer is the condition in which the bladder cells begin to grow rapidly. Many people are struck with Bladder cancer, being more common in industrialized countries. Although it has been found to happen in the younger age group, most of the cases have been seen in the older age group. The cancer is found majorly in the age group of 60 plus and has high chances of recurrence.Bladder cancer occurs when the epithelial cells of the bladder become malignant. The condition is characterized by the rapid growth of cells in the bladder . Bladder cancer is also known as transitional cell carcinoma or urothelial cell carcinoma.
Bladder cancer does not show any early signs. Later, the following signs could be observed-
- Blood in the urine
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Feeling the urge to urinate even when the bladder is not full
- Facing trouble in urinating
- Experiencing a weak urine stream
- Frequent urination or the urge to urinate but not passing any urine
These symptoms are not definite symptoms of bladder cancer. Many other conditions can also show these symptoms. Many conditions like tumors,bladder stones, and infections can also cause these symptoms. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should see the doctor as soon as possible to be sure about his status.
The diagnosis is carried out by using the following methods-
- For the Primary diagnosis, the test like Cystoscopy, Biopsy, and Urine Cytology are carried out.
- For the Advanced diagnosis, Imaging like Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan are used.
The method of treatment depends on many factors like the stage of the disease, the type of tumor and the health and the age of the patient. The personal preference of the patient is also taken into account.
Transurethral resection is the most common treatment for tumors. It is a surgical technique which is minimally invasive. It involves the removal of tumors with the help of an endoscope which passes through the urethra and performs the excision of the tissue.
It involves the exceisio of the baldder and replacing it witrh a newbladdeef made up of bowel or urinaryu diversion to eth skinb.Open surgery or robitic surgery can be used to acheve it.
Primary radiation therapy generally involves a radiation dose of 6,000 to 7,000 rad to the bladder in patients not fit or not willing to undergo surgery
Chemotherapy used to treat bladder cancer can be either local or systemic.
- Intravesical chemotherapy is placed directly into the bladder, and is therefore, considered local chemotherapy.
- A combination of chemotherapy drugs injected in the veins (systemic chemotherapy)is used in the treatment of more advanced bladder cancers. The combination used most often for bladder cancer is M-VAC [methotrexate, vinblastine, adriamycin (doxorubicin), and cisplatin] and GC (gemcitabine and cisplatin).
BCG is the most commonly prescribed immunotherapeutic agent for use in bladder cancer treatment to prevent recurrences in superficial bladder cancer.
- Stage I: Most bladder cancers start in the innermost lining of the bladder.
- Stage II/III: Cancer grows into or through the other layers in the bladder wall
- Stage IV: Cancer grows outside the bladder and into nearby structures (lymph nodes, bones, lungs, liver)
- Choose a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid dehydration. Increase your fluid intake, particularly water. Water dilutes cancer-causing chemicals.
- Choose a diet rich in a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of cancer.
- Keep a check on the risk factors.