The bladder looks like a hollow container. It is muscular, giving it the ability to expand as it fills up with the urine in the body. Bladder cancer begins in the cells of your bladder. These are the cells that line the inside of your bladder, called urothelial cells. Urothelial cells are present in the kidneys and ureters, too, but the possibility of them turning cancerous is much higher in the bladder.
Bladder cancer symptoms are generally easily recognizable, and they can be treated easily if it is at its early stage. Bladder cancer, even after successful treatment, can develop again over the years, so the patients need to keep visiting their health professionals for regular check-ups.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BLADDER CANCER
A few signs of bladder cancer you need to look out for are:
Hematuria or blood in the urine can be seen; sometimes, it is not visible to the naked eye but can be detected in lab tests.
Rushing to the bathroom too often
Feeling pain while urinating.
Pain in the back
Bladder cancer symptoms in men remain the same, even though among men, it is more common.
TYPES OF BLADDER CANCER
Transitional cell carcinoma – this in the medical field is now known as urothelial carcinoma. Urothelial cells line the inside walls of your bladder, kidneys and ureters. Cancer can develop in these cells. It is also one of the more common types of bladder cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma – you could have squamous cell carcinoma because of chronic irritation due to recurring infections or because of long-term use of urinary catheters.
Adenocarcinoma – This is a very rare type of bladder cancer, and it occurs in the glands that secrete mucus in the bladder.
WHAT CAUSES BLADDER CANCER?
Mutations in the cells of the bladder can cause you to develop cancer. Essentially, the DNA of the cells change. The DNA has the job of telling the cells what they need to be doing. The DNA tells these cells to keep on changing even when the good cells around are dying because of these mutations. These abnormal cells band together to form a tumour which invades and destroys the normal tissues in the body. As more time passes by, these cancerous cells break away from their parent cells and keep spreading in different parts throughout the body.
HOW IS BLADDER CANCER TREATED?
Diagnosing bladder cancer may involve:
Cystoscopy - using a scope to look at the inside of your bladder.
Biopsy – collecting a cell sample for testing.
Urine cytology – collecting a sample of your urine to check for cancerous cells.
Examining the structure of your urinary tract by performing computerised tomography, urogram, retrograde pyelogram, etc.
After your doctor is certain that you have bladder cancer, they may recommend you to take one of the following paths:
Surgery to remove the cells that have grown cancerous.
Chemotherapy in the bladder for cancerous cells that are confined to the lining of your uterus walls but have the potential to spread and cause damage.
Chemotherapy for the whole body can be performed when surgery is not an option or when the chances of a successful surgery have to be increased.
Radiation therapy can be effective in destroying cancer cells when surgery can’t be performed or is not desired.
Targeted therapy is used to treat patients who are in the later stages of their cancer, and all other treatments for them have failed.
If you notice something out of the ordinary, such as urine that looks discoloured or has a reddish tint to it, you should seek help from a doctor. You might be having other urinary issues that are mentioned above, for which you need to seek medical aid.