Advanced Urology Associates specializes in bladder cancer treatment for men and women, we offer the most state-of-the-art treatments and cancer care available.
Bladder cancer accounts for approximately 90% of cancers of the urinary collecting system (renal pelvis, ureters, bladder, urethra). The bladder is an organ located in the pelvic cavity that stores and discharges urine. Urine is produced by the kidneys, carried to the bladder by the ureters, and discharged from the bladder through the urethra.
Bladder cancer affects the cells that line the bladder, or the sac located in the pelvis in which urine is collected for excretion. Most cases of bladder cancer are found in older adults, and diagnosed at an early stage. This type of cancer is highly treatable, however, bladder cancers are likely to recur. There are many different types of bladder cancer including: Squamous cell carcinoma, Adenocarcinoma, Small cell carcinoma, Sarcoma. Understanding the normal structure and function of the bladder is helpful in understanding the different types of bladder cancer.
Bladder Cancer Symptoms
Bladder cancer is most commonly diagnosed after the appearance of blood in the urine. The medical term for blood in the urine is hematuria. In the case of bladder cancer, the bleeding is usually painless, and unfortunately this can cause patients to delay a medical examination. In the earliest stage, the blood in the urine is not visible. This is termed microscopic hematuria. Some patients will experience frequent urination or frequent urinary tract infections as the first sign of bladder cancer. Patients who have experienced three or more infections in a twelve month period should be evaluated for possible bladder cancer. In more advanced stages, major hemorrhage, inability to urinate, kidney failure, and bone pain can be the presenting symptoms. When bladder cancer gets out of the bladder and into the body, it is not considered curable.
What Causes Bladder Cancer?
Tobacco smoking is the main known risk factor that increases the risk of bladder cancer. Smoking is associated with over half of bladder cancer cases in men and one-third of cases among women. Quitting smoking reduces the risk. Passive smoking may also be involved. Authors have proposed that bladder cancer might partly be caused by the bladder directly contacting carcinogens that are excreted in urine, although this has not yet been confirmed in other studies. Occupational exposure may also be a risk. Occupations at risk are bus drivers, rubber workers, motor mechanics, leather workers, blacksmiths, machine setters and mechanics. Hairdressers are thought to be at risk as well because of their frequent exposure to permanent hair dyes – and are advised to wear gloves at work.
How is Bladder Cancer Diagnosed?
Patients with suspicious symptoms are evaluated by three categories of tests. These are; urine tests, upper tract imaging, and cystoscopy. In addition to ruling out bladder cancer, these tests can find kidney stones, undiagnosed infections, and other diseases associated with blood in the urine.
Bladder Cancer Treatment
Once bladder cancer is detected, the diagnosis will determine the severity. Treatment for bladder cancer depends on the stage of the disease, the type of cancer, and the patient’s age and overall health. Options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy. In some cases, treatments are combined (e.g., surgery or radiation and chemotherapy, preoperative radiation).
Questions About Bladder Cancer or Treatments?
Advanced Urology Associates specializes in bladder cancer treatment for men and women. Request an appointment or contact us today at 815.409.4930.