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Bladder Cancer

What is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the bladder.

Males are affected three times more frequently than women. Most people who develop the disease are over the age of 40.

What is the Bladder?

The bladder is a hollow, balloon like organ lying in your pelvis. It collects urine from your kidneys and stores it until it is full enough to empty through the urethra. The average adult bladder holds about 2 cups of urine.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer often doesn't produce signs or symptoms in its early stages.

When symptoms are present, the most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine.

Blood in the urine is a condition called haematuria. Blood in the urine may appear suddenly with no apparent cause, and usually there is not any pain associated with it. The urine may vary from rusty brown to deep red, depending on the amount of blood. The blood may be present some days and not others, and may disappear for weeks or months. The amount of blood is not related to the extent of the cancer. Sometimes blood clots can form and cause pain or obstruction to the flow of urine.

Other symptoms of bladder cancer include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling you need to urinate without being able to do so

Types of Bladder Cancer

There are three main types of bladder cancer:

  • Urothelial carcinoma (also known as transitional cell carcinoma or TCC)
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma

Urothelial carcinoma is the most common form of bladder cancer. It accounts for more than 90% of bladder cancers.

Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 2% of bladder cancers. Nearly all squamous cell carcinomas are invasive.

Adenocarcinoma's accounts for only about 1% to 2% of bladder cancers. Nearly all adenocarcinoma's of the bladder are invasive.

Urothelial carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and adenocarcinoma's respond differently to radiation and chemotherapy.

How is Bladder Cancer treated?

Treatment options will depend on several things. The treatment options will depend on the types of bladder cancer, your general health, age, and personal preferences, as well as the cell type and stage of your cancer.

Urothelial carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and adenocarcinoma's respond differently to radiation and chemotherapy.

Some of the most common treatment options are:

How is Bladder Cancer Diagnosed?

Your doctor will test your urine for blood and infection. Your doctor may also take x-rays and examine your rectum (men) and vagina (women). Depending on the results of these tests, your doctor may refer you to a bladder specialist for further testing.

Complications of Bladder Cancer

The most serious complication of bladder cancer is the spread of cancer from the bladder to other organs. Some other complications are: anemia, urinary incontinence and hydronephrosis. Hydronephrosis is a blockage of the ureters that prevents urine from draining into your bladder.


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