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 BladderThe 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.
Male Urinary System
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.
How is bladder cancer is diagnosed?Your doctor will perform the following checks in order to diagnose bladder cancer.
- Inquires about your medical history.
- Do a vaginal or rectal exam.
- Perform a urine test to look for blood or abnormal cells.
- 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:
- Perform the surgery to remove cancer. In some cases, the doctor may use the lasers or other methods to get rid of tumors.
- Chemotherapy - Try to destroy cancer affected cells with a medicine (course will be prescribed by your doctor).
- Immunotherapy - Enlightens your body's natural defense system to attack cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy - Making use of X-rays in high dosage to kill cancer cells.
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:
- Smoking - Cigarette smokers are much more likely to get bladder cancer than other people with no smoking habits.
- Caucasian - Male, White and aged people (40+) are more likely to catch cancer in their bladder.
- Chemical explosion - People who're being exposed to cancer-causing chemicals, such as those utilized in the wood, rubber, and textile industries.
- Eating habits - Heavy consumption of fried meats and fats may increase your chance of getting bladder cancer.
- Parasites - There's a leech that causes schistosomiasis, which can step-up your risk.