Bladder cancer is a tumour growth in the bladder lining. The bladder is a hollow organ in the shape of a balloon that collects and stores urine. The bladder is located in the lower part of the pelvis.
Bladder cancer can be non-invasive and invasive. Non-invasive cancer remains in the bladder lining. The invasive type spreads into the deeper walls of the bladder. It can also spread to other parts of the body, in which case it is an advanced bladder cancer.
There are several types of bladder cancer:
1.Transitional cell bladder cancer (TCC) – the most common type; it starts in the bladder lining
2.Carcinoma in situ (CIS) – non-invasive cancer, but it has to be treated immediately before it turns into invasive
3.Papillary bladder cancer – a for of early cancer of the bladder; looks like mushrooms growths; it may happen that this type and CIS can occur at the same time
4.Rare types: squamous cell cancer (starts from another type of cell ) and adenocarcinoma (starts in the glandular cells); both types are invasive
Bladder cancer can recur; therefore, patients should have regular tests.
The symptoms of bladder cancer are:
- blood in the urine
- burning feeling during urination
- pain in the lower abdomen
- back or pelvic pains
The cause of bladder cancer is not exactly known. It is known that cancer occurs due to abnormal growth of cells, which do not die in their programmed time, forming a tumour. So far, the following causes are considered:
-Smoking – because half of the patients with bladder cancer were smokers; chemicals in the cigarettes end up in the urine
-Age – more common in older people
-Exposure to chemicals used in dye factories, rubber, leather, textiles
-Gender – more common in men
-Recurrent urinary infection
-Radiation therapy to the pelvis – for treatment of other cancer
The risk factors for developing bladder cancer are:
- gender and age – more likely in older men
- bladder infections
- exposure to chemicals
- family history
- parasitic infection
- previous cancer treatments
- certain diabetes medication
Complications from bladder cancer can arise if it is recurring. Therefore, bladder cancer survivors are advised to have regular tests.
Prevention of bladder cancer may be possible when reducing the factors of risk. This involves: quit smoking, healthy diet, healthy weight, drinking water, and avoiding exposure to chemicals.