Bladder Cancer
(Cancer of the Urinary Bladder)

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Bladder Cancer Facts

  • Bladder cancer is one of the common cancers affecting men and women.
  • The most common symptom is bleeding in the urine (hematuria).
  • Cigarette smoking is the most significant risk factor with smokers three to four times more likely to get the disease than nonsmokers.
  • Bladder cancer can be subdivided into superficial and muscle invasive, with the former having much better treatment outcomes than the latter.
  • The initial treatment for bladder cancer is transurethral resection (TURBT), which removes the tumor from the bladder and provides information regarding stage and grade of the tumor.
  • Low-grade superficial tumors (Ta) are treated with TURBT followed by an optional instillation of a single dose of a chemotherapy medication in the bladder to reduce recurrence rates. These tumors have high recurrence rates but a very low chance of progression to higher stages.
  • High-grade T1 tumors have high chances of recurrence and progression and may need additional treatment in the form on BCG or chemotherapy instillation in the bladder. Patients unresponsive to these may be best treated by radical cystectomy.
  • Radical cystectomy provides the best chances of cure in patients with muscle invasive disease.
  • Cisplatin-based chemotherapy is used in patients with metastatic disease at presentation or those in which bladder cancer cells are present outside the bladder wall or in lymph nodes during radical cystectomy.

What is the bladder?

The urinary bladder, or the bladder, is a hollow organ present in the pelvis. Most of it lies behind the pubic bone of the pelvis but when full it can extend up into the lower part of the abdomen. Its primary function is to store urine that drains into it from the kidney through tube-like structures called the ureters. The ureters from both the kidneys open into the urinary bladder. The bladder forms a low-pressure reservoir which gradually stretches out as urine fills into it. In males, the prostate gland is located adjacent to the base of the bladder where urethra joins the bladder. From time to time, the muscular wall of the bladder contracts to expel urine through the urinary passage (urethra) into the outside world.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/26/2013

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Know the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer.

Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer Causes, Symptoms, and Signs

Anyone experiencing the signs or symptoms of bladder cancer should be checked by a urologist, who can perform tests to diagnose bladder cancer even in its early stages.

The following are signs and symptoms of bladder cancer:

  • Blood in the urine: This is the most common symptom of bladder cancer and occurs in the vast majority of people with bladder cancer. Though it may have causes other than cancer, blood in the urine is never normal and should always be evaluated by a doctor.
  • Urinary urgency or pain on urination
  • Backor abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite and weight

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