Bladder cancer occurs when bladder cells grow uncontrollably, resulting in a cancer. The cancer usually begins in the cells that line the inside of your bladder, which is the hollow organ that stores urine.
There are several different types of bladder cancer such as adenocarcinoma, urothelial, and squamous cell carcinoma; the type of cancer depends on the cells in the bladder where the cancer begins.
The main symptoms are blood in your urine (hematuria), having pain while urinating, and pain in your pelvis. Other symptoms include back pain and frequent urination. Individuals are at higher risk for having bladder cancer if they smoke, are exposed to chemicals or radiation, have had long-term irritation in the lining of the bladder, or have had parasitic infections. Individuals also have a higher risk if they are white, male, or over the age of 40.
Doctors can diagnose bladder cancer by analyzing a sample of urine, using cystoscopy to look inside urinary structures, CT scans to look at the urinary tract, and examining a sample of bladder cells through a biopsy. The doctor will determine the stage of the cancer based on how far outside the bladder cancer cells are found.
Treatment for bladder cancer varies based on the stage of cancer along with the individual’s overall health. Possible treatments include surgery, chemotherapy in the bladder, reconstruction (to create a new way for urine to exit the body), radiation therapy (to destroy cancer cells), or immunotherapy (to trigger the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells).
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also good resources of support and information.
Description Last Updated: Sep 03, 2018