A common type of cancer that starts off in the cells of the bladder. These cells called the urothelial cells, line the inside of the bladder, which is a hollow muscular organ in the lower abdomen. The basic function of the bladder is to store and expel the urine.
Urothelial cancer most commonly affects the lining of the bladder but it can occur in the ureters and kidney as all three shares same epithelial lining.
● Increasing age
● Being male
● Exposure to certain chemicals
● Previous cancer treatment
● Chronic bladder inflammation
● Personal or family history of cancer
Early symptom detection is a must in cases of cancer. As noted earlier, this results in a cure, timely recovery, and speedy comeback to usual life routine.
In certain cases, these symptoms can be the result of a UTI, bladder stones, overactive bladder, or an enlarged prostate (in men). However, recognizing these symptoms, detecting these at an early stage and getting yourself tested is a must.
The type of bladder cancer depends on the cell where cancer begins in the body. This further decides the route for cancer treatment.
The different types of bladder cancer
Urothelial carcinoma- Urothelial carcinoma begins in the cells that line the internal wall of the bladder. When the bladder is full, these cells expand. When the bladder is empty, these cells contract. This cancer can even develop on the inside of the ureters where these cells are present.
Squamous cell carcinoma- Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of cancer associated with severe irritation of the bladder. This can arise from an infection or long-term use of a urinary catheter or long-standing urinary tract stone.
Adenocarcinoma- This type of cancer arises in cells in the mucus-secreting glands in the bladder and relatively rare.
Patients of bladder cancer are treated with different procedures as per the severity and stages of cancer. Some treatments are standard while some of the treatments are still in clinical trials. Once these trials start showing the good result, they are adopted for normal treatments.
A combination of medication, surgery and radiation therapy may be used as per the condition of bladder cancer and its spread.
Initial step of management of Bladder is diagnosing the type of bladder cancer, its grade and depth of involvement of bladder.
The first and foremost step thereby is Transurethral resection (TURBT) of bladder tumor. In this surgery a resectoscope sheath(tube) is inserted into the bladder through the urethra to remove the tumour or to take biopsy with high-energy electricity.
A radical cystectomy is conducted to remove the bladder and landing zone lymph nodes and nearby organs when cancer cells have invaded the muscular layer of bladder wall or has invaded to the adjacent organs.
Few patients are given chemotherapy pre- or post-surgery depending on the stage of cancer.
Few patients are also provided radiation therapy to stop the regrowth of cancer tumour
Immunotherapy (Intravesical BCG therapy) is an integral part of cancer treatment to help support the person’s immune system and restore his natural defense system against cancer.
Based on the treatment option you choose and the hospital, and the severity of cancer, there can be multiple specialists involved in your treatment.
A Urologist is the first specialist who sees bladder related treatments, sometimes a uro-oncologists is the specialist who treats you being the expert of cancers related to urology. Other specialists involved in bladder cancer treatment are Medical and radiation oncologists.
You might have many other specialists on your treatment team as well, including physician assistants, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and other health professionals.
The 5 years survival rate for people with bladder cancer is around 77%.
Overall, 10-year survival rate is more than 70% and 15-year survival rate is 65%.
While the survival rates depend on factors like the type and stage of cancer and how well a person is taking care of him post-treatment.
Take a look at the infographic below:
It must be noted that bladder cancer even if treated tend to recur. Thereby requiring people to go for follow up tests and medical interventions from time to time.