What is Bladder cancer?
The bladder is a hollow organ located in the lower abdomen. It is characterized for being able to shrink and enlarge to store the urine. The urine is produced through the kidneys.
“Cancer occurs when malignant cancerous cells attach to the tissues of the bladder.”
This cancer is one of the most frequent and ranks ninth in terms of the number of cancer diagnoses worldwide.
SEOM notes that most of these tumors are diagnosed in the early stages of development. It can cure with the help of surgery. But if the tumor is in an advanced stage. In these circumstances, healing may be difficult or impossible. So the goal of treatment will be to prolong survival. It improve the patient’s quality of life.
The diagnosis of bladder cancer, more frequent in western Europe and North America than in Asia or Eastern Europe. It is usually made around the age of 70.
What Causes of Bladder cancer?
The main factors that cause bladder cancer to appear are:
It is the main cause of bladder cancer. More than 40 percent of all diagnoses are attributed to it. This is because many of the carcinogens in cigarettes are absorbed in the body and excreted through the urine. In this process, the cells of the wall of the urinary tract can be affected.
“Smoking not only increases the chances of bladder cancer. It also makes it easier for other cancers and diseases to develop, such as lung cancer.”
Exposure to chemicals for industrial use
Certain products, such as some metals, dyes, and gums, are a risk factor for developing cancer. People who work in places exposed to these carcinogens are more at risk.
Some examples are workers who practice their profession in the metal sector, in the paper industries, in chemical companies, in companies that generate toxic chemical residues, in the printing sector, in textile workshops, or who work as machinists, as truck drivers or as painters.
Currently some studies defend the relationship between human papillomavirus (HPV) and bladder cancer. It is estimated up to 17 percent of these tumors could be due. To being a carrier of high-risk HPV serotypes.
What are the Symptoms of Bladder cancer?
The suspicion of bladder cancer usually appears before the manifestation of any symptoms. A routine microscopic examination of urine detects red blood cells.
The symptoms of bladder cancer may be identical to those of bladder infection (cystitis). The two problems may appear together. Bladder cancer is suspected when symptoms do not go away with treatment for cystitis.
A systematic microscopic examination or other urine tests can detect blood and pus cells, and cytology will detect cancer cells.
The main symptoms of Bladder cancer included:
- The appearance of blood in the urine (hematuria) without associated pain on urination. In these cases, the urine has a bright red or reddish color).
- Suffer pain or stinging when urinating.
- I need to urinate more frequently.
- Having the sensation of wanting to urinate without being able to or having the desire just after you finish doing it.
How to Prevent Bladder cancer?
The best way to prevent bladder cancer from occurring is to avoid tobacco use. To quit smoking. These are the most important risk factor.
Also, people in jobs related to the chemical and textile industry and anyone else that generates toxic chemical residues must follow the safety and protection recommendations to reduce contact with these substances.
Another form of prevention is the administration of the human papillomavirus vaccine.
“Finally, patients who have previously had a bladder tumor should have regular Pap tests to detect the recurrence of the disease.”
Today, routine medical examinations are not performed on healthy people to diagnose this type of cancer because it is not beneficial for the patient.
How Is Bladder cancer Diagnosed?
The first step that the specialist must take when he suspects that the patient has bladder cancer. They perform an examination on the patient. The specialist ask about the symptoms and carry out a series of complementary tests. It will provide information on the tumor subtype and which stage of the disease is found.
The complementary tests are:
It is very important to control kidney function. Since, in patients with bladder cancer, it is frequently altered.
To detect it, a general blood test is necessary. In these tests, the specialist will also be able to check whether the hematuria has caused anemia or other disorders.
Although this test is not very sensitive. Sometimes the patients do not present alterations in the results despite having bladder cancer. The diagnosis can be confirmed if malignant urothelial cells appear in the urine analysis.
Abdominal and urinary tract ultrasound
This test allows the urologist to view the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. In detail when they are filled with urine.
From the ultrasound, on many occasions. It is possible to detect bladder tumors. And also distinguish if cancer has reached the urinary tract and the rest of the abdominal organs.
It is the most reliable test for diagnosing. To determining the stage of the disease in bladder cancer.
During the cystoscopy, the specialist will insert a flexible tube containing a small video camera into the bladder through the urethra. The doctor will be able to see the inside of the bladder. As well as take biopsies or remove polyps, for example.
X-ray, CT or MRI
A chest x-ray or computed tomography (CAT) scan of the chest or nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) determines the stage of cancer.
Treatments of Bladder cancer
There are several therapy based on the stage of the bladder tumor.
Bladder cancer Stage 0 and 1
Most patients with stage 0 and 1 tumors usually heal after receiving treatment. Although the risk of tumor recurrence is high.
As explained by SEOM, depending on whether it is 0 or 1. The grade of the tumor and other factors, treatment will consist of removing the tumor for the cystoscopy or transurethral resection.
When the tumor has been removed. The doctor will assess whether the patient has to follow a complementary therapy with immunotherapy or chemotherapy applied inside the bladder.
Bladder cancer Stage II
In these cases, the tumor has spread to the muscle layer of the bladder. The patients are at risk for cancer to metastasize. The treatment options are:
Radical cystectomy: It is the most common treatment. The doctor will remove the bladder, some nearby organs, and lymph nodes. The main drawback of this surgical intervention is that the patient will not be able to urinate normally. One of the most common solutions is the reconstruction of the urinary tract.
Conservative treatment: The specialist will remove the tumor without removing the bladder.
Complementary treatment: On many occasions, the tumors reappear. To try to reduce this risk, doctors may choose to apply a complementary treatment with chemotherapy.
Bladder cancer Stage III
Stage 3 patients only have more profound involvement of the bladder than stage 2 patients. Therefore, the treatment is similar, although more aggressive.
Bladder cancer Stage IV
Cancer also affects the wall of the abdomen or pelvis, as well as the lymph nodes or has distant metastases. When this occurs, surgery fails to eliminate the disease. So it is not normally cure for therapeutic option.
“In Stage 4, the therapy consists of the administration of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.”
In palliative care patients, the doctor may perform a cystectomy if the patient has a lot of pain or bleeding. It does not go away through other treatments.
The efficacy of immunotherapy in bladder cancer is being studied with promising preliminary results.