The bladder, responsible for collecting urine filtered by the kidneys, is where bladder cancer often originates, typically in the cells lining its interior. This form of cancer has various types, each associated with different risk factors.
Two Distinct Forms of Bladder Cancer
The bladder’s function may seem straightforward, but it is remarkably intricate. It transforms a continuous urine flow from the kidneys into an intermittent and voluntary output. We differentiate between two primary forms of bladder cancer: noninfiltrating, which is less concerning, and infiltrating forms. In infiltrating cases, where cancer penetrates deep into the muscle, it can affect both ureters, leading to kidney obstruction and significant distress. Italy records approximately 25,000 new cases annually. Recent statistics show a slight increase, warranting concern and further investigation into its reasons.
Bladder Cancer Risk Factors
Investigations show higher prevalence in one gender, linked to risk factors, primarily smoking. Historically, these factors have contributed to gender disparities. There are two main categories of risk factors: constitutional-genetic, which cannot be altered, and environmental risk factors, where intervention is possible. Environmental risks include cigarette smoking, exposure to dyes, paints, rubber, and groundwater pollution. The peak age for cancer development is around 55-60 years, but it can occur earlier.
Recognizing Bladder Neoplasia
Bladder cancer is frequently a silent tumor, with the initial sign often being the presence of blood in the urine. If you notice blood in your urine, it’s advisable to consult a urologist, as it could be the first indication of bladder neoplasia. Additionally, discomfort such as bladder pain and a sudden increase in urinary frequency that doesn’t improve with antibiotic treatment are symptoms to be mindful of.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis involves urine analysis and ultrasonography. When the tumor is in its early stages, we can manage it with suitable solutions that focus on preserving the organ and maintaining a good quality of life.