Bladder cancer is the most common of the cancers associated with the urinary system of the human body will be a form of bladder cancer. The bladder is the large organ located in the pelvic area that stores urine and gets it ready to be discharged through the urinary tract. Urine is produced by the kidneys, carried to the bladder by the ureters, and eliminated from the bladder through the urethra.
Bladder cancer exists when cancer cells begin to grow inside the bladder, most often, in the lining of the bladder. The majority of bladder cancers will be what is known as transitional cell carcinoma where the cancer develops in the transitional epithelial cells. Other forms of bladder cancer that are more rare include small cell carcinoma, primary lymphoma and sarcoma.
The most common symptom of cancer of the bladder will be blood in the urine. This is also called hematura. Sometimes, blood in the urine may exist but not seen by the naked eye. It will oftentimes be found under a microscope. In advanced stages of bladder cancer, blood will be able to be visually seen in the urine. Aside from blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, pain during urination, blood clots, swelling in the lower legs and weight loss are symptoms associated with bladder cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer found in male adults in the United States each year. More than 38,000 men and 15,000 women will be afflicted with bladder cancer annually. It often strikes people over the age of 70; this age group develop the disease 2 to 3 times more often than those aged 55–69 and 15 to 20 times more often than those aged 30–54.
Cigarette use and cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) are the number one cause of bladder cancer. Cigarettes alone contribute to more than 50% of the cases. Age, a diet high in fat, a family history of bladder cancer, chronic bladder disorders and a personal history of bladder cancer are all common causes of the disease.
Bladder cancer treatment depends on the age of the patient and progression of the disease. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy are often used by themselves, or in combination with each other, to treat bladder cancer. Bladder cancer treatment will be an integrated program managed by your urologist.
If bladder cancer is in the early stages, the tumor can oftentimes be removed through a transurethral resection (instruments that are inserted through the urethra). If bladder cancer has spread into the muscle, then a partial or full radical removal of the bladder will need to take place. This is also referred to as a cystectomy.
Bladder cancer treatment is more difficult once it has reached a later stage. It’s important to have a thorough examination by your urologist if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms associated with urination and the bladder.
The urologists that make up North Dallas Urology Associates offer bladder cancer tests and treatment plans. For more information, or to schedule an appointment at our Plano, Richardson and Frisco locations, call 972.612.8037. To schedule an appointment at our McKinney location, call 972.548.8195.