Dog Bladder Cancer Diagnosis
The diagnosis of bladder cancer in dogs requires a series of diagnostic tests:
- A urine test and analysis.
- A smear test of cells present in the urine sediment.
- A bladder tumor antigen test, assessing the proteins in a urine sample.
- Ultrasound of the urinary system, ureters, and urethra.
- Biopsy .
- Cadet BRAF test: a urine sample to test DNA mutation.
Most of these tests are straightforward checks with minimal harm to your pet however, traditional biopsy is slightly more invasive with possible risk involved .
Diagnosis Of Bladder Cancer
Along with the tests done if a bladder infection is suspected, a medical professional diagnosing bladder cancer will likely order or perform several more tests.
During your visit, they may perform an internal exam of the vagina or rectum to see if they can feel any lumps in your pelvic area.
They may order a set of X-rays called an intravenous pyelogram, which lets them check the kidneys, ureters, and bladder for cancers.
Its also possible the medical professional would order a biopsy of the bladder during the cystoscopy exam. This biopsy removes a sample of the inner lining of the bladder in the area they think might be cancerous. The surgeon may even remove the entire tumor.
A specialist doctor called a pathologist then looks at the cells in the biopsy sample for signs of cancer.
Bladder Cancer In Dogs Stages
Staging is a way to measure the primary tumor with X-rays or ultrasound to see how far the cancer may have spread and assess what level of risk there is to the dog.
Following the staging tests, your veterinarian may grade the tumor as low, intermediate, or high risk, depending on what stage it has reached. Unfortunately, most dogs with bladder tumors have intermediate to high-grade invasive TCC, which is high risk and difficult to treat.
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Dog Bladder Cancer Clinical Trials
There is a close similarity between TCC in dogs and high-grade invasive bladder tumors in humans therefore, canine bladder cancer is an area of research interest for doctors and veterinarians alike . As such, you may be asked if you would like your dog to be part of a veterinary clinical trial, which can give you access to experimental treatments that are otherwise unavailable.
What Breeds Of Dogs Get Bladder Cancer
Several breeds, in particular Terriers, are more likely to develop bladder cancer. Owners of Scottish Terriers should be aware the breed has an 18 fold higher chance of being diagnosed with TCC than other dogs .
Shetland Sheepdogs, Beagles, West Highland White Terriers, and Wire Hair Fox Terriers are also more at risk of developing TCC than other breeds. It is unclear why these breeds are prone to urinary tract cancer, although these breeds are less resilient to TCC and other urinary tract mutations, therefore the bloodlines of these dogs have significance.
Causes Of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is when cells of the bladder lining grow out of control and start spreading to other parts of the organ and, potentially, other parts of the body. This growth can disrupt the normal functioning of the bladder and other essential organ systems. If untreated, bladder cancer can be deadly.
A Reservoir Of E Coli Bacteria
That last was a lot of scientific talk, but it came down to two very important points:
So, how do you improve the balance of bacteria in your gut microbiome?
The answer is getting more probiotics and prebiotics in your diet.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that help to tip the balance and prebiotics are responsible for feeding them.
You can find each in supplement form or get them through your diet.
Probiotic sources include things like yogurt, kefir, kimchi and kombucha, while prebiotic-rich foods include garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes and bananas.
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Link Between Uti And Bladder Cancer
UTIs are classified into two types: cystitis and urethritis. A bladder infection is referred to as cystitis while urethritis is a urethral infection. Even though UTIs are extremely common, they must be taken seriously when it is a recurrent condition. The symptoms of UTI are very similar to that of Bladder Cancer and it can become a potential cause for delay in diagnosis. If diagnosed early, bladder cancer is highly treatable and can be cured.
The bladder is a hollow, flexible pouch located in the lower abdomen. Its primary function is to store urine before it exits the body. Bladder cancer is a common type of cancer that starts in the bladder cells. Bladder cancer typically begins in the cells that line the inside of the bladder . Urothelial cells can also be found in the kidneys and the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder . Urothelial cancer can occur in the kidneys and ureters, but it is far more common in the bladder.
When To Make An Appointment With Your Urologist
Bladder cancer may be overlooked in women because its easy to chalk up symptoms to a stubborn UTI or normal vaginal spotting. Unfortunately, this means women are often diagnosed after the cancer has spread and become harder to treat. So if youre worried, dont just write off your symptoms. Call your doctor to determine if its a minor infection or something more serious. If it is bladder cancer, its easier to treat if you catch it early.
If you would like to talk to a urologist, you can see if we have a location near you or you can contact us to ask a question or make an appointment.
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Do Frequent Urinary Tract Infections Lead To Bladder Cancer
If you experience frequent urinary tract infections, is that a sign that you might have bladder cancer or might get it in the future?
Not typically, according to Tessa Flores, MD, Medical Director of Cancer Survivorship and Screening at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
While a urinary tract infection and bladder cancer can produce similar symptoms, Dr. Flores says, having frequent UTIs doesnt mean you have bladder cancer.
There is preliminary data that there might be an association between recurrent UTIs and a specific and rare type of bladder cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, she says. But typically, no, having UTIs doesnt mean you have bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the U.S. It occurs when cells that make up the bladder lining begin to grow abnormally. As the abnormal cells multiply, they form a cluster called a tumor.
What Can Mimic A Uti
So, if it’s not a UTI, what else could it be? Several other infectious and non-infectious disease processes can cause symptoms that mimic a UTI. These include conditions such as vaginitis, overactive bladder, and kidney stones some sexually transmitted infections and diseases such as bladder cancer. Due to the potentially serious consequences of many of these alternate diagnoses, it is important that recurrent UTI-like symptoms are thoroughly investigated.
The Problem Of Misdiagnosis In Women With Bladder Cancer
While bladder cancer is more common in men than in women, women often present with more advanced tumors and their overall survival rate is lower.17
A major reason for women presenting with more advanced tumors is the delay that can occur before receiving a bladder cancer diagnosis. Reasons for this delay may include:
- Blood in the urine, the most common symptom of bladder cancer, may be discounted by women as being related to menstruation or post-menopausal bleeding.
- When blood in the urine and urinary irritation are reported to a doctor they may be initially misdiagnosed as a UTI. Additionally, if a woman subsequently presents after treatment failure for a misdiagnosed UTI, further antibiotics may be prescribed rather than carrying out a complete urological evaluation.
- UTIs and bladder cancer can occur at the same time, in which case the UTI will be the logical first diagnosis.
Because of this diagnostic confusion, a definitive diagnosis of bladder cancer may be delayed in some women. Of particular concern in this case is the risk that bladder cancer has reached a more advanced stage that may be more difficult to treat.
Can You Prevent Bladder Cancer
There is no certain way of preventing bladder cancer. You may, however, reduce your risk of bladder cancer by following these tips:
- Avoid smoking including secondhand or passive smoke coming from other peopleâs cigarettes, cigars or pipes.
- Avoid exposure to certain chemicals particularly the ones used in dye, paint, rubber, leather, heavy metal or petroleum products manufacturing.
- Avoid exposure to diesel fumes.
- Drink plenty of nonsugary, nonalcoholic fluids. Drinking enough water helps flush out wastes from the body, thus, lowering your risk of cancer.
- Consume healthy foods particularly fruits and vegetables.
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Blood Or Blood Clots In Your Urine
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, also known as hematuria. Although blood in the urine can be a sign of several other symptoms that are not cancer, its still important to talk to your doctor if you see blood in your urine. Oh, and by the way, it doesnt always have to be red in color, sometimes it looks like the color of cola.
You Lose Appetite And You Lose Weight Unintentionally
Loss of appetite is one of the main side effects of cancer, primarily because it can change your metabolism. Like the others mentioned earlier, this symptom can be an indication for other conditions, but it is something that you shouldnt ignore.
Again, as with most cancers and other deadly diseases, early detection is critical in saving lives. So, if you or anyone you know has experienced these symptoms, dont hesitate to book an appointment by calling our office at .
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Ask Your Doctor For A Referral To A Urologist
For women diagnosed with a UTI, Dr. Donat has this advice: Make sure your doctor sends a urine culture for testing, she says. If you did have a culture, make sure it came back positive to confirm that you actually have an infection. If the culture was negative or your bladder symptoms continue despite treatment, dont be afraid to ask your doctor for a referral to a urologist to get a formal evaluation.
Tests can sometimes distinguish the bleeding associated with bladder cancer from postmenopausal uterine bleeding, but the results are not always clear-cut. Your gynecologist can send a catheterized urine sample for testing to determine the source of the blood and to evaluate for gynecologic causes of the bleeding, Dr. Donat explains. If your gynecologic exam fails to identify the source of the bleeding or is inconclusive, or if your irritative bladder symptoms persist, you should also seek out the expertise of a urologist.
Hematuria may originate in the bladder or the kidneys, says Dr. Donat, so a urologist needs to check both. This is best done with a special CT scan of the urinary tract called a CT urogram and by looking in the bladder with a lighted telescope called a cystoscope. This procedure, called a cystoscopy, is usually done in an office in just a few minutes and does not require anesthesia, says Dr. Donat. A urine test called a cytology may also be sent to check for cancer cells in the urine.
Causes Of Bladder Infection
Blader infections, sometimes called cystitis or urinary tract infections , are when a germusually bacteriatakes up residence in the bladder. Bladder infections are the most common type of UTI, but UTIs can develop in any part of the urinary tract.
The infection causes inflammation and disrupts the normal working of the urinary tract. If left untreated, these infections can also spread to the kidneys, which is more dangerous and painful.
Bladder infections are caused by bacteria from other parts of the body entering the urinary tract. In females, this bacteria typically comes from the vagina or the bowel. In males, bladder infections are usually due to issues like enlarged prostate, which restrict normal urine flow.
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Possible Causes Of Bladder Cancer
UTI-like symptoms could be a sign of possible bladder cancer but there are also various causes that have been associated with the disease.
Smoking is one of the major contributors to this disease. Those who smoke have a higher chance of developing the disease than non-smokers.
Exposure to chemicals could also lead to the development of bladder cancer. If your kidneys, which are directly linked to your bladder, are constantly exposed to harsh chemicals, a bladder problem could develop.
Family history can often be a cause of various diseases, especially bladder cancer. If a close or sometimes even distant relative had this disease your chances may rise.
If Youve Been Diagnosed With Bladder Cancer Seek Out A Team Of Experts
Most people require a combination of therapies to treat bladder cancer successfully. The best plan is different for each person, says Dr. Donat. This customized treatment approach requires the expertise of multiple specialists.
At MSK, most people with bladder cancer meet with a urologic surgeon and medical oncologist as well as a radiation oncologist when needed. This close collaboration helps ensure that MSK patients receive the best care possible. The benefit of MSK is that we bring world-class expertise in each type of treatment to bear for every individual we care for, and we are on the forefront of developing new treatments, says Dr. Donat.
Its also important to know that expert bladder cancer care means not only lifesaving treatments but preserving your quality of life and, if possible, your bladder. We want all of our patients female and male to feel their best after bladder cancer surgery, says Dr. Donat. As surgeons, we do that through a variety of techniques, including minimally invasive approaches and other specialized techniques to preserve or reconstruct the bladder and to maintain sexual function.
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Dog Bladder Cancer: What To Expect
Look out for these common symptoms, especially if you are the owner of Scottish Terriers or Shetland Sheepdogs:
- Bloody urine
- Painful urination or other urinary tract infection signs.
- Abdominal pain.
When you seek veterinary help, expect that your veterinarian may recommend a urinary catheter to help your pet relieve themselves, should they be suffering from a blocked urinary tract.
Ask your vet if they believe there is a harmless urinary infection, and consider a Cadet BRAF test if there are suspicions of a serious disease.
If the Cadet BRAF and other urinary tests determine cancer cells are present, talk to your veterinarian about a biopsy and ultrasound. This will ensure your dog is fully diagnosed by assessing if the bladder tumors have spread to the lymph nodes, the lungs, the kidneys, or the urinary tract.
With advanced bladder tumors, expect that chemotherapy may be recommended, which can have nasty side effects for your dog. Consider ways of making your pet as comfortable as you can.
Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer
Common symptoms of bladder cancer, on the other hand, are slightly more complex.
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is a change in the color of your urine. Your urine may become orange, pink, rusty brown, dark red, or bright red in color, which would indicate theres blood in your urine.
Blood in the urine is also a common symptom of a bladder infection, so it is one that is often misdiagnosed in women presenting with bladder cancer.
Other symptoms common in cases of bladder cancer include:
- The need to urinate more frequently, even when your bladder isnt full
- Painincluding burning, or general discomfortwhen you urinate
- Pain in the lower back, mid-back, or side
- Urinating when youre not meaning to
- Trouble getting the urine stream started
- Feeling like something is blocking the flow of urine
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What Are Different Types Of Bladder Cancer
The main types of bladder cancer are:
- Urothelial carcinoma : About 90% of bladder cancers are urothelial carcinomas cancers that begin in the urothelial cells, which line the inside of the bladder. Cancer that is confined to the lining of the bladder is called non-invasive bladder cancer. Urothelial cancers can develop anywhere from the renal pelvis, ureters, bladder and urethra.
- Squamous cell: This type of bladder cancer begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that may form in the bladder after long-term infection or irritation. These cancers occur less often than urothelial carcinoma, but they may be more aggressive.
- Adenocarcinoma: This type of bladder cancer develops in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation. This type of bladder cancer tends to be aggressive.
- Other: There are also rare subtypes of the bladder cancer such as small-cell carcinomas, soft tissue sarcomas and rhabdomyosarcoma
Signs Of Bladder Cancer That You Shouldnt Ignore
Bladder cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat, and it has a reputation for being a silent killer. As with most cancers, awareness and early detection are critical in saving lives. According to Bladder Cancer Canada, about 120,000 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer this year alone. That being said, it is a deadly disease that everyone should watch out for.
In support of Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, here are 7 signs of bladder cancer that you shouldnt ignore.
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