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bladder-cancer

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers that affects approximately 45,000 men and 17,000 women per year. It occurs in the urothelial cells that make up the innermost lining of the bladder wall. However, these cells are also found in the kidneys and ureters and can also be affected by this cancer. Based on its position, Bladder cancer has three types:

  • Transitional cell carcinoma begins in the transitional cells in the inner layer of the bladder. It's the most common form of bladder cancer as more than 90 per cent of blood cancer originate from transitional cells.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma makes up about 5 per cent of bladder cancers. It affects the squamous cells of the bladder due to a long-term infection or irritation in the bladder.
  • Adenocarcinoma is a rare type of bladder cancer that starts from the glandular cells in the bladder.

Symptoms:

The first symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Various symptoms that might indicate the advancement of bladder cancer are fatigue, weight loss and bone tenderness. Most bladder cancers are highly treatable if diagnosed at an early stage. Therefore, one should pay close attention to the following symptoms:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain while urinating
  • Frequent pain in the abdomen and lower back
    • So, if one has discoloured urine and contains blood, they should make an appointment with the doctor right away.

      Causes:

      Bladder cancer is caused when cells in the bladder turn malignant and lead to a tumour formation that invades and destroys healthy cells and tissues.

      Risk factors:

      While the exact causes of bladder cancer are unknown, various lifestyle choices can increase their risk. Smoking is the most common risk factor that causes half of all bladder cancer cases. Other risk factors are:

      • Chronic bladder infections
      • Low fluid consumption
      • Ageing
      • High-fat diet
      • Previous cancer treatment

      Diagnosis:

      Our doctor will perform various tests if they suspect bladder cancer or to rule out other urinary problems. They may use one or more of the following tests:

      • Urine analysis to determine the cause of the symptoms and to check for cancer cells.
      • Physical examination to identify abnormal lumps that may indicate a cancerous growth.
      • CT scan to examine the urinary tracts and to identify abnormal formations in the bladder.
      • Cystoscopy to insert a narrow tube with a camera through the urethra to see inside the bladder.
      • Biopsy to take a small sample of tissue from the bladder and test it for cancer.

      Based on the test results and how far cancer has spread, our doctor may categorize cancer from stage 0 to 4:

      • In stage 0, the cancer is in the early phase, only affecting the bladder lining.
      • In stage 1, cancer has spread past the lining but hasn’t reached the layer of muscles.
      • In stage 2, cancer has reached the layer of bladder muscles
      • In stage 3, cancer has spread beyond the bladder and to the other part of the body.

      Treatment:

      Treatment for bladder cancer may depend on various factors. Based on the diagnosis, possible complications and the patient’s preference, our doctors will recommend the most-effective treatment option for bladder cancer.

      Chemotherapy:

      In chemotherapy, our doctors will use a group of drugs to stop cancer from spreading. Cancer cells absorb the drugs faster than normal cells, thus slowing their growth. These drugs can be delivered through a vein or a catheter, depending on the stage of cancer.

      Radiation therapy:

      Our surgeon will use controlled radiation to damage or destroy the DNA of cancer cells. Our radiation oncologist will use a machine to direct the energy beams on the cancer cells. It can be used in combination with chemotherapy if surgery isn’t an option.

      Surgery:

      It’s the most common treatment option in which the surgeon will surgically remove the tumour and the surrounding tissues through various approaches. Our doctors implement methods to perform bladder cancer surgery, which are:

      Transurethral bladder tumour resection (TURBT) is often used to treat early-stage cancer. In this procedure, our surgeons use a cystoscope to insert an electric loop into the bladder to destroy the tumour. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t leave any cut or scar.

      Partial cystectomy is performed to remove a section of the bladder along with cancer. Before the surgery, our doctors will administrate chemotherapy or radiotherapy to stop the growth of the tumour. During partial cystectomy, they will remove only the portion of the bladder, which contains the tumour.

      Radical cystectomy is used to treat more extensive cancers that have spread beyond the bladder. During the procedure, our surgeon will remove the bladder and surrounding lymph nodes affected by cancer.

      Laparoscopic cystectomy is a minimally invasive surgery to remove the bladder and the surrounding organs. Our surgeon will insert a laparoscope through single or multiple small incisions on the lower belly instead of one large incision.

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