Bladder cancer is a general term describing a few categories of malignant growth of the bladder. The bladder is the organ which stores urine as drained from the kidney and is located in the pelvis. The cancer starts with abnormal cells that begin to grow uncontrollably in the bladder. There most common bladder cancer begins with cells lining on the inside of the bladder, it is called urothelial cell (UCC) or transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).
The cause of most bladder cancers is the exposure to environmental carcinogens of different kinds. Thirty percent of bladder cancers are the result of exposure, usually at work, of benzidine. Cigarette smoking is believed to account for 50% of diagnosed bladder cancer in men and 30% of diagnosed bladder cancer in women. Bladder cancer is not currently believed to be genetically linked. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common of cancers diagnosed in men. This disease is the tenth most diagnosed cancer in women. In the United States each year 50,000 people will develop bladder cancer, of which over 12,000 will eventually die of the disease.
Bladder cancer presents with the following symptoms, blood in urine, painful urination, the feeling of needing to urinate with no urine, and frequent urination. The symptoms unfortunately mimic urine infections, cystitis and prostate infections.
When presenting with the above symptoms that do not clear with a course of antibiotics a definitive diagnosis can only be made by a pathologist. The diagnosis is determined by a biopsy of the tissue of the bladder and medical imaging.
One test, an Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) involves a typical X-ray with a dye tracer. The dye will travel through the pelves of the kidneys (urine collection area), through the ureters and to the bladder. The X-ray provides a detailed image of the upper and lower urinary tract to detect any abnormalities or growths.
Staging of bladder cancer is an important part of diagnosis to determine the course of treatment.
Bladder cancer is staged in four progressions.
Stage 1 is a tumor that is present in the loose tissue beneath the lining of the bladder, but not the muscular wall or beyond with no lymph node involvement.
Stage 2 is a tumor that has invaded the muscular wall of the bladder (muscularis propria) with no lymph node or other organ involvement.
Stage 3 is a tumor which has invaded the muscularis propria of the bladder, involving soft tissue around the bladder OR lymph node, prostate, vagina or uterus involvement. Lymph nodes or organs farther away from the bladder do not have any cancerous tissue.
Stage 4 is a tumor that has extended outside of the bladder into the pelvic or abdominal wall without lymph node involvement OR the tumor has spread to lymph nodes.
Bladder cancer treatment depends on the health of the patient and how significant the tumor growth is. Superficial tumors are tumors that have not entered the muscular layer of the bladder wall. These tumors can be shaved off the wall of the bladder using a cytoscope and a cauterization tool.
Immunotherapy can be used to treat and prevent the recurrence of superficial tumors. BCG instillation is the immunotherapy used and can prevent recurrence of tumors in 66% of bladder cancer patients. Chemotherapy is also used to treat superficial tumors.
If untreated, superficial tumors will grow through the muscle wall of the bladder. Tumors of these size require surgery that removes all or part of the bladder called a cystectomy. The urine can be surgically diverted with a substitute bladder created from intestinal tissue. The neo-bladder will be created depending upon the age of the patient, the kidney functioning, preference of the patient and the area that is affected by the bladder cancer.
Radiation and chemotherapy can be used together to treat the invasive form of bladder cancer.
After the tumors are removed another drug therapy referred to as intravesical therapy involves chemotherapy drugs administered directly into the bladder through a catheter. Up to 60% of patients respond successfully to intravesical therapy. Regular follow-up with a urologist is necessary for every three months for the first two years, then every six months for two more years and then yearly after those four years. At each visit a cystoscopy with or without biopsy should be performed to retrieve urin to test for cancer cells.
1 - 2 of 2 <<previous | next>>
Clonidine injection is used with injected pain medicine to treat pain in cancer patients.
Be sure to tell your doctor of any allergies you have whether it is to medication or food, preservatives, or dyes. Tell your doctor immediately if you are, or bec more...
Morphine is a Narcotic Analgesic used to treat pain. Morphine works in the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain.
Be sure to tell your doctor of any allergies you have whether it is to medication or food, preservatives, or dyes. Tell your doctor more...
1 - 2 of 2 <<previous | next>>