We know the bladder is a balloon- shaped organ in our bodies which stores the urine our bodies excretes. Bladder Cancer can occur in people of all ages but usually affects the older population and is one of the most common cancers that affect both men and women. It usually begins in the cells which line the inside of the bladder. Luckily many bladder cancers are detected in the early stages when it is very treatable, but be aware early stage bladder cancer often times reoccurs therefore it is very important to have regular follow up tests for years.
Bladder Cancer is caused by cells in the urinary bladder which have begun to grow and multiply uncontrollably. It begins in the innermost lining of the bladder and can spread deeper into the lining over time it can spread to the lungs, liver, bones and other parts of the body.
Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer:
A common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine which can be easily seen yet other times it can only be seen under a microscope. Often it is painless yet, other times pain occurs because of blockage caused by blood clots. Other symptoms include the need to frequently urinate, a burning sensation when urinating and the inability to hold urine. Many times patients tend to ignore these symptoms or treat them as bladder infections. More advanced signs of bladder cancer can include a distended bladder caused by the growth of a tumor, extreme pain in bones and even blood in the phlegm when the patient coughs due to the spread of cancer cells to the lungs.
The prognosis for bladder cancer depends on the size of the tumor and the stage in which the cancer is diagnosed as well as the body’s response to treatment. Most often the earlier it is detected the better the outlook.
Low Risk Bladder Cancer:
Low risk bladder cancer has a 15% chance of reoccurrence in the first year and a 32% chance of reoccurrence in 5 years. When low risk bladder cancer does reoccur it is most commonly in the same stage and grade as the original tumor and the patient’s life expectancy is seldom compromised. It is important to remember regular follow ups are necessary and should be taken seriously.
High Risk Bladder Cancer:
High-risk bladder cancer has many tumors that often times are large and reoccur even with treatment, they have an increased risk of progressing. There is a 61% chance of re-occurrence in the first year with a 17% chance of spreading to other parts of the body. There is a 78% chance of re-occurrence in 5 years with a 45% chance of spreading to other body parts over this 5 year period of time. Management of these tumors is very important because of their ability to spread to other parts of the body therefore shortening the life expectancy of the patient.
Treatment For Bladder Cancer:
Treatment for bladder cancer most often includes removing the tumor and diagnosing the type and stage of cancer. If it is diagnosed as low grade it may be treated with a single dose of chemotherapy medication in the bladder. With a diagnosis of high grade tumors additional treatments of chemotherapy in the bladder may be needed. Patients who have bladder cancer which does not respond to these procedures may be treated by radical cystectomy which provides the best chance of cure in patients with muscle invasive disease. If cancer cells are found outside the bladder wall or in lymph nodes during the radical cystectomy a Cisplatin based chemotherapy is used.
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Bladder cancer, like most cancers, has a greater chance of being controlled when detected early. We would appreciate if you or someone you know can add a little light to this article. Please feel free to leave comments.
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