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What is Bladder Cancer?

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What is Bladder Cancer?

In 2021, almost 83,000 Americans are expected to have developed bladder cancer, the majority of being men. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men. Many people with the disease don’t know they have it until they go for a routine checkup. Catching bladder cancer early can give you more treatment options and better outcomes.

What is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer often starts in the lining of the bladder. A person with bladder cancer has one or more tumors made up of abnormal and unhealthy cells.

There are two main categories of bladder cancer:

  • Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) is cancer that grows only in the thin tissue on the inside surface of the bladder. With NMIBC, the bladder muscle is not involved. The tumor is not likely to spread outside the bladder. About 70% of bladder cancers are NMIBC.

  • Muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) is cancer that spreads into the thick muscle deep in the bladder wall.

Another category of bladder cancer includes:

  • Advanced metastatic bladder cancer happens over time as the tumor may grow outside the bladder into tissues close by. Cancer may then spread to lymph nodes, the lungs, the liver, and other parts of the body.

Bladder cancer can also be described based on stage, from stage 1 to 4. Earlier stages are easier to cure. Knowing the stage of cancer helps your doctor decide the best way to treat it. Smoking is the most important risk factor for bladder cancer. The best way to prevent bladder cancer is to quit smoking, or never start. Other risk factors include:

  • A family history of bladder cancer

  • Age and gender

  • The cancer drug cyclophosphamide

  • Radiation to the pelvis

  • Workplace exposure

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Not everyone with bladder cancer has symptoms. The most common sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. If you see blood in your urine, tell your doctor right away.

Blood in the urine does not always mean you have bladder cancer. There are many other possible causes, like a urinary tract infection. It is important to be evaluated by your doctor to find out the cause.

Other signs of bladder cancer can include:

  • Frequent and urgent need to pass urine

  • Pain when you pass urine

  • Pain in your lower abdomen

  • Back pain

Treatment for Bladder Cancer

If you are diagnosed with bladder cancer, your doctor will recommend treatment based on many factors. These include the stage of your cancer (the depth of the tumor and how far it has spread), your general health, and your age.

“It can be scary to be diagnosed with any type of cancer, including bladder cancer, but it’s important to know you’re not alone. Your doctor will be with you step by step, and will talk you through your treatment options so you get the best outcome,” said Sima P. Porten MD, MPH, a urologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Source: Urology Care Foundation, The Official Foundation of The American Urological Association

  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Urology