Understanding Bladder Cancer: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
21-07-2023 5 Min Read
Bladder cancer begins in the bladder tissues. It might produce urinary symptoms as well as back discomfort and exhaustion. Your stage and type of cancer will determine the treatment you receive. Bladder cancer develops when abnormal cells of the bladder divide and spread uncontrollably. They can form a tumour and spread to nearby muscles and organs over time.
Bladder cancer is a severe condition that affects thousands of individuals each year. This type of cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated promptly.
Causes and Risk Factors of Bladder Cancer
Understanding bladder cancer's causes and risk factors is crucial for early detection and prevention.
- Smoking: By allowing hazardous chemicals to build in the urine, smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes may raise the risk of bladder cancer.
- Increasing age: The risk of bladder cancer rises with age. Although bladder cancer can strike at any age, most diagnosed are over 55.
- Gender: Men are more likely than women to develop bladder cancer.
- Exposure to certain chemicals: Arsenic and chemicals used in producing dyes, rubber, leather, textiles, and paint products have been associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.
- Previous cancer treatment: Cyclophosphamide, an anti-cancer medication, raises the risk of bladder cancer. People who have previously received pelvic radiation treatments for cancer are at an increased risk of acquiring bladder cancer.
- Chronic inflammation of the bladder
- having a family history of cancer
Symptoms of bladder cancer
Recognizing the symptoms of bladder cancer is essential for early diagnosis.
The most common symptom is:
- blood in the urine, also known as haematuria
- frequent urination
- pain or burning during urination
- unexplained weight loss
- urinary incontinence
- pain in the abdominal area
- loss of appetite
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.
Diagnosis and Staging of Bladder Cancer
- Cystoscopy entails putting a tiny tube with a small camera through your urethra to view the inside of your bladder.
- Biopsy: It entails removing a small tissue sample from your bladder to be tested for cancer.
- Imaging tests: CT scan, MRI, X-Ray, bone scan, ultrasound
Once diagnosed, bladder cancer is staged to determine the extent of its spread. Staging helps in developing an appropriate treatment plan.
There are several staging systems for bladder cancer. The following stages are possible:
Stage 0: The cancer has not progressed beyond the bladder lining.
Stage 1: The cancer has progressed beyond the bladder lining but has not penetrated the bladder's muscle layer.
Stage 2: The cancer has spread to the bladder's muscle layer.
Stage 3: The cancer has spread to the bladder's surrounding tissues.
Stage 4: The cancer has progressed beyond the bladder to other body parts.
Treatment Options for Bladder Cancer
The treatment options for bladder cancer depend on various factors, including the stage and grade of the tumour, as well as the overall health of the individual.
For Stage 0 and Stage 1:
Treatment for bladder cancer in stages 0 and 1 may include:
- surgical removal of the tumour
For Stage 2 and Stage 3:
- Partial removal of the bladder
- Radical cystectomy: it is the complete removal of the bladder
For Stage 4:
- radical cystectomy and lymph node removal, followed by surgery to provide a new path for urine to exit the body chemotherapy
- Radiation therapy
- clinical trial drugs
Bladder Cancer Survival Rates and Prognosis
The survival rates and prognosis for bladder cancer vary depending on the stage and grade of the cancer and the individual's overall health. Early-stage bladder cancer has a higher survival rate compared to advanced-stage cancer. However, advancements in treatment options have improved survival rates overall. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to understand the specific prognosis for each case.
Lifestyle Changes and Prevention Strategies for Bladder Cancer
Making certain lifestyle changes and adopting prevention strategies can help reduce the risk of bladder cancer.
These include quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, and avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals. Regular exercise and a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables are also beneficial in preventing bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer is a complex condition that requires early detection and appropriate treatment. Understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking medical attention promptly are crucial steps in managing bladder cancer effectively. With advancements in treatment options and ongoing research, the prognosis for bladder cancer continues to improve. Individuals can reduce their risk of developing bladder cancer by adopting preventive strategies and healthy lifestyle choices. Remember, early detection and proactive management are critical to a successful outcome.
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