Bladder cancer

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Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is just what it says; cancer of the bladder. The bladder is the balloon-like sac in the body that stores urine. The bladder is made up of several different layers of tissue. There are three types of bladder cancer transitional cell carcinoma or (TCC) which accounts for 9 of 10 cases of bladder cancer. TCC is very treatable when diagnosed when it is still isolated in the bladder lining. Squamous cell carcinoma makes up about 8% of all cases. Most of the time squamous cell invades the deeper layers of the bladder. Adenocarcinoma is a rare form of cancer making up about 2% and almost always involves the deeper layers of the bladder. Bladder cancer is divided into these five stages.
„Y 0- carcinoma in-situ or non-invasive lesions limited to the bladder mucosa (lining)
„Y I-Tumor extends through the mucosa, but does not extend into the muscle layer
„Y II- tumor invades into the muscle layers
„Y III- tumor invades past the muscle layer into tissue surrounding the bladder
„Y IV- cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes or to distant sites (metastatic)
Bladder cancer spreads by extending into the nearby organs, including the prostrate, uterus, vagina, ureters, and the rectum. ¡§Metastasis can occur to the pelvic lymph nodes or to other parts of the body such as the liver, lungs, and bones¡¨.
     Next year about 55,000 Americans will be diagnosed with bladder cancer. This is the fourth most common cancer in males and ninth in females. About three times as many men than women are diagnosed with bladder cancer. Race is also a factor two to three times more Caucasians are diagnosed than African Americans are. Risk factors include smoking which more than doubles your chances, chronic bladder problems, family history, and people over 55. Symptoms include hematuria, urinary frequency, painful urination, bone pain or tenderness, abdominal pain, anemia, and weight loss. In the early stages 25% of patients have no symptoms commonly the first sign is gross, painless intermittent hematuria.
     More than 94% of people with bladder cancer survive if it is diagnosed at an early stage. If treatment doesn¡¦t begin until after the cancer metastasis, the survival rate drops to 50%. Cancer is easier to prevent than to cure. Certain life style and dietary habits can greatly reduce your risk of developing bladder cancer. Some of these are:
„Y Not smoking
„Y Regular exercise
„Y Moderate, if any alcohol consumption
„Y Low fat high fiber diet
There are several different tests that can be preformed to rule out diseases, each case determines what tests are appropriate. Here are some examples of these tests.
„Y Urine culture: a urine sample is analyzed for signs of infection
„Y Urine cytology: urine or cells are examined in the lab for signs of cancer
„Y Cystoscopy: A slender tube with a lens and light, is placed into the bladder through the urethra for a visual exam of the bladder
„Y Biopsy: tissue samples are removed and examined to determine cancer of the cells
„Y Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) : A special dye is put in the blood stream and X-rays are taken to obtain a picture of the bladder and urinary tract
„Y CT,MRI and other imaging studies: Used to determine if the cancer had spread to other organs
Treatment for bladder cancer includes surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy they can be used alone or in combination to treat cancer. The treatment is planned and discussed with each individual patient, taking into account their age, general health, type and size of tumor and if has spread.
„Y Radiotherapy treats the cancer with high energy x-rays, while at the same time doing as little harm as possible to the surrounding healthy cells. This is done before, after or instead of surgery this is done daily as an outpatient
„Y Surgery includes many options such as partial- cystectomy, which is just removing the cancerous part of the bladder. If the tumor is more extensive a complete or radical cystectomy may be necessary. In women this includes removal of the whole bladder and may include a hysterectomy. In men it includes the bladder and prostate. In both cases an opening is made to the outside and a bag is attached.
„Y Chemotherapy washes out your bladder with one of several drugs. This is done weekly for about 6 ¡V 8 weeks. The drug is put into bladder through a catheter you then need to hold the drug I you bladder for at least 1 hour.


Bladder cancer has a good prognosis if caught early. There are plenty of options available if you get this disease. There are a lot of different tests to diagnose the cancer, and a lot of treatment options. Remember that cancer is easier to prevent than to cure it.



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