Bladder Cancer (Cancer of the Urinary Bladder)

  • Medical Author: Kevin C. Zorn, MD, FRCSC, FACS
  • Medical Author: Gagan Gautam, MD, MCh
  • Medical Author: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Quick GuideBladder Cancer Symptoms, Stages, Treatment

Bladder Cancer Symptoms, Stages, Treatment

Can bladder cancer be prevented?

The best way to prevent bladder cancer is to avoid exposure to agents that cause the disease. People who don't smoke are three to four times less likely to get bladder cancer as compared to smokers. Continuing to smoke after the diagnosis of bladder cancer portends a poorer outcome and increases the chance of the disease coming back after treatment. Avoidance of occupational exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as aniline dyes may also be important. Despite research in this area no medication or dietary supplement has been conclusively demonstrated to decrease the risk of bladder cancer in normal individuals. However, recent studies of patients taking atorvastatin (Lipitor) to lower cholesterol have suggested the drug may lower the risk of prostatic cancer and by inference, bladder cancer, but this needs further study.

Where can people find more information on bladder cancer?

A number of online resources are available for bladder cancer patients to gain more insight into this disease and its management. Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (http://www.bcan.org) is one such resource that provides a downloadable patient information handbook and links to patient support groups.

The National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov) also provides bladder cancer information.

The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (http://www.eortc.be/tools/
bladdercalculator) features a calculator that predicts the chances of recurrence and progression of superficial bladder cancer after initial treatment on the basis of certain tumor characteristics.

What research is being done on bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer is a topic of intense scientific research currently. Basic science research is focused on finding and studying the genetic alterations (or changes in the human DNA) that predispose to bladder cancer in the hopes to discover new medications and treatments for curing the disease. Other areas of research include the following:

  • Newer molecular diagnostic tests to detect bladder cancer thereby avoiding the need for invasive tests like frequent cystoscopy examination
  • Targeted therapy acts on genetic pathways responsible for bladder cancer; it is considered the next generation of chemotherapy for the disease.
  • Newer surgical techniques, such as robotics, have been incorporated to improve precision and accelerate patient recovery after bladder cancer surgery.
  • Stem cell research for creation of urinary diversion during radical cystectomy without the need for intestinal segments

This field is likely to see significant advances in the years to come and hopefully would provide effective treatment strategies and hope for the millions of bladder cancer patients worldwide.

Medically reviewed by Jay B. Zatzkin, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Medical Oncology

REFERENCES:

American Cancer Society. "Chemotherapy for Bladder Cancer." Jan. 6, 2015. <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/bladdercancer/detailedguide/bladder-cancer-treating-chemotherapy>.

Steinberg, Gary David. "Bladder Cancer Treatment & Management." Medscape.com. Apr. 15, 2014. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/438262-treatment>.

Wein, A.J., L.R. Kavoussi, A.C. Novick, A.W. Partin, and C.A. Peters. Campbell-Walsh Urology, 9th Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier, 2007.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/26/2016

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