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Bladder Cancer

                                          

Bladder cancer is the development of abnormal cells of the bladder lining. It is one of the most common forms of cancers, affecting approximately 68,000 adults in the United States each year. Bladder cancer is more commonly found in men than women and among older adults, although it can occur in either men or women and at any age.

Overview

Symptoms

Most bladder cancers are slow growing, but once they have spread to the bladder’s muscular wall, they are capable of spreading to the lungs, liver, bones, or lymph nodes. Bladder cancer may not produce noticeable signs or symptoms in the early stages, but people can experience bloody urine and frequent or painful urination. Other symptoms may include pelvic pain, bone pain, or weight loss.

Major Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Genetics and family history
  • Arsenic exposure
  • Low fluid consumption

Diagnosis is most commonly found among Caucasian men over 55.

Treatments

Left untreated, bladder cancer can lead to death, so it is important to act as soon as the first sign of any symptoms. Common treatments for bladder cancer include surgery and radiation therapy. However, regular follow-up is important as this type of cancer has a tendency to recur.

Types of treatments include:

Transurethral Resection (TUR)

This involves the removal of the bladder tumor using a scope that is guided into the bladder through the urethra. This is generally done in a hospital on an outpatient basis. No incisions are needed, and recovery is rapid.

Intravesical Therapy

Intravesical Therapy is the use of medications, placed within the bladder via a catheter, to supplement surgical treatment of bladder cancer. This treatment is used to reduce the chances of recurrence of bladder cancer. This treatment is done in the office.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses medication to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be used alone or in combination with radiation or surgery. 

Radiation

Radiation therapy involves using beams of energy to destroy cancer cells. Radiation can be used alone or with chemotherapy, before or after surgery. Although not commonly used to treat bladder cancer, radiation therapy can be useful in certain cases.

Cystectomy

This is the surgical removal of the entire bladder and surrounding lymph nodes. This is performed in conjunction with a procedure to divert the urine. This procedure is reserved for patients that have a low chance of cure from other less-invasive surgery options.

If you have noticed blood in your urine or are experiencing other concerning symptoms, please call us or your primary care provider right away to schedule an appointment to speak with a urologist.