About Bladder Cancer - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What is Bladder Cancer?

The abnormal growth of cells in our body leads to cancer. These extra cells grow together in masses to form tumors. If the cell growth happens in the bladder region, then it is known to be as Bladder cancer.

Functions of a Bladder

The bladder is one of the most important parts in our body and the main part of our urinary tract which stores our urine until we're ready to let it out.

For better understanding, see the below picture of the female urinary system and the male urinary system.
Female Urinary System
Female Urinary System Diagram
Male Urinary System
Male Urinary System Picture
Bladder cancer can be treated and cured if found early. And usually, bladder cancer is found early in most individuals.

What causes Bladder Cancer?

The reasons for an individual to get bladder cancer is unknown. However, cigarette smoking or getting exposed to certain chemicals can increase your risks. And like the most other cancer types, changes in the DNA of our cells can dramatically lead to bladder cancer.

What are the symptoms of Bladder Cancer?

If you see blood while urinating, it is the main symptom. There are also other symptoms like having to urinate often or feeling pain when urinating. Not all individuals with blood in urine are said to be affected by bladder cancer. Why because, these symptoms can also be caused by other problems such as a urinary tract infection. So, it is better to check with your doctor immediately after you see blood in your urine.

Symptoms of Advanced Bladder cancer include:
  • Pain in the lower back around your kidney area (a.k.a flank pain)
  • Growth in your pelvis region near the bladder (a.k.a pelvic mass)
  • Swelling in your lower leg area.
Different Stages of Bladder Cancer
Bladder Cancer Stages

How is bladder cancer is diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform the following checks in order to diagnose bladder cancer.
  1. Inquires about your medical history.
  2. Do a vaginal or rectal exam.
  3. Perform a urine test to look for blood or abnormal cells.
  4. Do a cystoscopy, a thin, lighted viewing tool that lets your doctor look into your bladder. In this test, small tissue samples (biopsies) are collected from your urine and viewed under a microscope to determine if there are cancer cells.

How is it Treated?

Treatment options for bladder cancer include:
  1. Perform the surgery to remove cancer. In some cases, the doctor may use the lasers or other methods to get rid of tumors.
  2. Chemotherapy - Try to destroy cancer affected cells with a medicine (course will be prescribed by your doctor).
  3. Immunotherapy - Enlightens your body's natural defense system to attack cancer cells.
  4. Radiation therapy - Making use of X-rays in high dosage to kill cancer cells.
The above mentioned treatment options are chosen by your doctor depending upon the severity or the stage of your cancer. Most bladder cancers are dealt without having to bump off the bladder.

In some rare cases, doctors do have to remove the bladder which means the urine flow will be diverted into a bag outside of the body. But in many cases, doctors will try to create a new bladder out of your own body tissues that works much as the real one.

Bladder cancer often returns. The new tumors (or cancer cells) can often be treated with success if they're caught ahead of time. So it’s very crucial to have regular medical checkups after your treatment is done.

What increases your probabilities of getting bladder cancer?

The main risk factors for bladder cancer include:
  1. Smoking - Cigarette smokers are much more likely to get bladder cancer than other people with no smoking habits.
  2. Caucasian - Male, White and aged people (40+) are more likely to catch cancer in their bladder.
  3. Chemical explosion - People who're being exposed to cancer-causing chemicals, such as those utilized in the wood, rubber, and textile industries.
  4. Eating habits - Heavy consumption of fried meats and fats may increase your chance of getting bladder cancer.
  5. Parasites - There's a leech that causes schistosomiasis, which can step-up your risk.

[About] What is Cancer? What Causes Cancer?

Cancer is a general or common name given to a class of diseases in which the cells multiply or divide uncontrollably. Cancer is not just a singular disease but it is rather a group of various illnesses. In general, there are literally more than 100 types of Cancer that our Scientists have identified till date and each is classified by the affected cell type.

For example; Leukemia is a cancer of blood-forming tissues while Sarcoma is cancer of support tissues such as the muscle or bones. Likewise, each type of cancer is categorized based on the area or type of cell it affects.

When the damaged cells divide uncontrollably, Tumors will be formed which later grow in huge number and interfere with our digestive, nervous and also the circulatory systems. They can also alter our body by releasing harmful hormones.
Cancer Tissue Closeup Picture

What is Cancer?

Common Properties of Cancer

Although, there are several types of Cancers, they possess similar properties such as below.
  • Abnormal cell growth
  • Capacity to invade different tissues
  • Capacity to spread via the blood vessels to distant organs
Cancer if not treated at the right time can cause serious illness by invading several healthy tissues or cells as well as can lead to death sometimes.

What Causes Cancer?

Normal cells in our body usually follow an orderly path like to grow, divide and die. However, the Cancer cells grow uncontrollably and do not die. The programmed cell death is known as 'apoptosis' while the opposite is known as 'metastasis'.

The exact root cause of an Individual's Cancer is not known. All we know, however, is that the diet we follow, our genetics, lifestyle and various other environmental factors can increase the risk of Cancer. Age is one of the most significant risk factors in majority of Cancer types that occur in those people who're over the 65 years of age.

The use of Tobacco, exposure to radiation or UV light, chemicals or asbestos, some virus & bacteria and of course poor or improper diet can increase the cancer risk.

Ex: Bacteria such as the Human Papillomavirus causes cervical cancer.

Cancer Symptoms in Individuals

The symptoms of Cancer differ according to the affected cell type as well as the stage of the disease. The major symptoms of cancer include
  • Change in the appearance of marks or moles on our skin
  • Lumps development or thickenings in any particular part of the body
  • Digestive changes or blood in the stool
  • Sudden increase or loss of weight
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Weakness or fatigue
So, if you notice any sudden unexplained or unusual symptoms, you should immediately seek the help of a physician and get it treated accordingly.

How to Prevent Cancer?

Since the root cause of many Cancers is not known, the prevention is often an inexact science. Certain types of cancers can be prevented by avoiding contact with those environmental elements that induce them.

Ex: Tobacco use is one of the main reasons in many types of cancers and so avoiding the consumption of tobacco may greatly help in lowering the risk of cancers associated with tobacco.

Terms Used in Cancer Medication

  • Adeno = Gland
  • Chondro = Cartilage
  • Erythro = RBC or Red Blood Cells
  • Hemangio = Blood Vessels
  • Hepato = Liver
  • Lipo = Fat
  • Lympho = WBC or White Blood Cells
  • Melano = Pigment Cell
  • Myelo = Bone Marrow
  • Myo = Muscle
  • Osteo = Bone
  • Uro = Bladder
  • Retino = Eye
  • Neuro = Brain

How to Eat to Prevent Cancer?

Like said by our ancestors, prevention is always better than cure. Below are some everyday foods that contain nutrients which when taken daily may help reduce our risk of getting Cancer.