- by Dr Murali Subramanian Oncology India
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- May 23 2017
Bladder Cancer-know more
Bladder cancer occurs when a growth of abnormal tissue, known as a tumor, develops in the bladder lining. In certain cases, the tumor spreads to the surrounding muscles.Around 10,000 people are diagnosed and treated with bladder cancer each year and it's among the10 most common cancers in the world. The condition is more common in older elderlies, with more than half the diagnosed cases are in people aged 75 and above.
The most distinctive symptom of bladder cancer is when there blood in urine, normally being painless.
Types of bladder cancer
Once diagnosed, bladder cancer can be assessed by how far it has spread. If the cancer cells are restricted to the lining of the bladder, it’s usually termed as non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This is the most usual type of bladder cancer, accounting for 70% of cases. Mostly is is non-fatal.
In case when cancerous cells spread beyond the bladder lining, into the adjoining muscles of the bladder, it's called as muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This is less common, but has a more chances of spreading to other parts of the body and can turn out be fatal. If it does
spread to other parts of the body, it's referred to as locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.
Causes of bladder cancer
Usually bladder cancer is caused by exposure to harmful substances, which makes abnormal changes in the bladder's cells over many years. Smoking and tobacco is a common cause and it's estimated that 50% of all cases of bladder cancer are caused by it.
Previously, contact with certain chemicals was also a known cause for bladder cancer,while most of these substances have since been banned.
Treating bladder cancer
In the case of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer, usually removal of the cancerous cells is possible, while leaving the rest of the bladder intact. This is achieved by using a surgical technique called transurethral resection of a bladder tumor (TURBT), followed by chemotherapy medication directly into the bladder so as to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.
When there is a higher risk of recurrence, a medication known as Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) may be injected into the bladder to lower the risk of the cancer recurrence.
In certain treatments for high-risk non-muscle-invasive or muscle-invasive bladder cancer may involve surgically removing the bladder in an operation known as a cystectomy. In such cases, when the bladder is removed, the patient will need another way of collecting the urine. Possible options include making an opening in the abdomen in order for urine to be passed into an external bag, or sometimes constructing a new bladder out of a section of bowel. This is achieved at the same time as a cystectomy.
Whenever it's possible to avoid removing the bladder or in cases if surgery is not suitable, a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be opted for. Sometimes chemotherapy may be used on its own before surgery or along with radiotherapy.
After treatment for all types of bladder cancer, regular follow-up tests should be done to check for signs of cancer reappearing.
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