Bladder cancer refers to the condition in which the cells in the bladder begin to divide abnormally. Cancer in the bladder can be detected early due to apparent symptoms in the early stages. It can also, however, quickly spread to other organs if not treated on time.
Types of Bladder Cancer
Depending on the type of cell, bladder cancer is of the following types:
- Urothelial Carcinoma: This is the most common type which starts in the urothelial cells of the urinary tract.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This type starts from the inner bladder lining.
- Adenocarcinoma: This rare cancer starts from the glandular cells in the bladder.
- Small Cell Carcinoma: This rare cancer starts from the epithelial cells in the bladder.
- Sarcoma: This cancer starts from the muscular cells in the bladder.
Bladder cancer is easily noticeable because of the following symptoms:
- Swollen bladder.
- Pain during urination.
- Burning sensation during urination.
- Frequent urination.
- Swelling in the feet and ankles.
- Pain in bones.
The exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown. The possible causes, however, are:
- Family history.
- Chronic infection.
- Exposure to harmful chemicals.
Bladder cancer is diagnosed by the following:
- Urinalysis: The doctor will recommend a urine test to check the presence of blood cells in the urine.
- Urine cytology: This test will be conducted to check for the presence of abnormal cells in the urine.
- Imaging tests: Various imaging tests such as ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI will be performed to gauge the size, location, and stage of the tumour.
- Biopsy: The doctor will retrieve a small tissue from the bladder and examine for the presence of cancerous cells.
The treatment strategy for bladder cancer depends on the stage and type of cancer, age, and overall health of the patient. Surgery is usually the mainstay of cancer. This is combined with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.
- Surgery: Surgery will be performed to remove a part of the bladder along with surrounding healthy tissues to prevent cancer from spreading. If needed, the doctor will also completely remove the bladder followed by a bladder reconstruction surgery.
- Radiation therapy: High energy X-rays will be used to destroy cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy: High doses of anti-cancer drugs will be administered to destroy cancer cells. In some cases, chemotherapy is combined with radiation therapy to remove cells from the body.
- Targeted therapy: Certain drugs will be administered to target specific protein particles in the cancerous cells. This therapy is considered in chances of relapse.