Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer ranks the sixth most common cancer.  It may either affect the inner lining of the bladder, .i.e., early bladder cancer, or can spread to the deeper walls of the bladder, .i.e., invasive and advanced bladder cancer. Bladder is a balloon like hollow organ found in the lower abdominal region that is responsible for storing, holding and releasing urine. If this process is disrupted, it can cause serious impact on the overall health of a person. Therefore, it becomes all the more important that we review for the reasons behind the occurrence of such cases.

Causes

The majority of bladder cancer cases are merely due to smoking. The longer the period of smoking, greater is the risk involved. The harmful chemicals present in the smoke are accumulated and some of them are excreted while urinating. While doing so, they damage the lining of the bladder. Being exposed to certain harmful chemicals may also be one of the reasons. Men and whites are more prone to this type of cancer. Mutations at KRAS2, HRAS, RB1 and FGFR3 along with age of an individual are the factors leading to bladder cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

If you notice blood in the urine, or if there is episodic bleeding without pain, then it is one of the most common symptoms associated with bladder cancer. The patient may feel the urge to urinate at short intervals, or may experience a burning sensation while urinating. Abdominal pain, urine leakage, fatigue, weight loss are some other signs and symptoms.

Diagnosis

If the doctor is finding some things that point out to bladder cancer, then he/she may request a cystoscopy which includes indepth examination of the bladder with the help of a camera. Similarly an abdominal CT scan, MRI scan, pelvic CT scan, urinalysis, intravenous pyelogram, etc. may be required. Bladder biopsy may also be performed during the process of cystoscopy.

Treatment

Various treatments are used to treat bladder cancer. Surgery may involve transurethral resection with fulguration, segmental cystectomy, radical cystectomy, and urinary diversion. Normally the surgery will remove all cancer, but some may be given chemotherapy in case more cancerous cells are present. To avoid recurrence, adjuvant therapy may be required. The patient may also be given external or internal radiation depending on the stage and type of cancer. Chemotherapy may be systemic, regional or intravesical. In some cases biotherapy, .i.e. immunotherapy may be suggested. Follow up tests are necessary to examine if there is recurrence of cancer. It aslo reviews if your condition has altered after going through various treatments.

Prevention

Quit smoking today as smokers are more prone to this type of cancer than the nonsmokers. People working in manufacturing industries should ensure that all safety precautions are being taken to minimize the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. A low fat, high fiber diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables will play a vital role in reducing the risk of bladder cancer to a great extent. It will ensure that you stay healthy throughout your life.