WHAT IS URINARY BLADDER CANCER
Bladder cancer occurs when the cells of the urinary bladder begin to grow rapidly. As the number of cells increases, they form a tumor and eventually spread to other parts of the body leading to cancer in the bladder.
SYMPTOMS OF BLADDER CANCER
Usually a person shows urinary problems as early signs of bladder cancer. The following are the signs and symptoms of cancer in urinary bladder:
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
- Pain or discomfort while passing urine
- Sensation of urination throughout the night
- Feeling the need to urinate but not able to urinate
- Lower back pain towards one side of the body
THE CAUSES OF BLADDER CANCER
However, the causes are not definite but few causing factors including genetic history, genetic mutations due to the use of tobacco or exposure to chemicals can be considered as leading risk factors. Other risk factors are:
- Bladder defects since brith
- Chronic bladder infections and irritations
- Side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Exposure to chemicals
- Low fluid consumption
- Family genetic history of bladder cancer
DIAGNOSIS OF URINARY BLADDER CANCER
A series of tests are recommended by the Uro-surgeon for bladder cancer screening.
- Cystoscopy : Cystoscopy is done to examine the inside of the urethra and the bladder using the cystoscope. Read more about cystoscopy.
- Imaging tests :
- Pyelogram: This is an X-ray done injecting dye into bladder either by a vein or by a direct catheter.
- CT scan: This helps determine the shape, size and position of any tumors that might be in the bladder, kidney or ureters.
- Ultrasound: There determine the size and the spread of the tumor.
- Urine tests like urine cytology, urine culture, urine tumour marker tests: The urine is examined to spot traces of cancer cells.
- CT and MRI scans, chest X-rays, and bone scans are also recommended.
TREATMENT OF BLADDER CANCER
Treatment for bladder cancer is defined after the complete diagnosis and based on location and stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, age, and preferences. Treatment options may be combined for an effective outcome.
Surgical treatment for bladder cancer are available at all stages of bladder cancer.A transurethral resection (TUR) is advised at the initial suspicion of bladder cancer, followed by Radiotherapy to kill the remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy targets and kill cancer cells or to shrink tumors so that they can be operated on with less invasive surgery. Drugs are administered in many cycles defined by the oncologist.
Radiation uses high-energy waves to damage cancer cells and kill them by preventing them from multiplying or dividing. In recent times, the use of radiation as a solitary procedure has been replaced with it used in combination with chemotherapy, which is more effective.
Follow-up for bladder cancer
Regular monitoring of bladder cancer after treatment regime is finished is important, as chances of recurrence is very high. Check-ups need to be one every 3 to 6 months. Sometimes bladder cancer does not go away and becomes chronic.