Why Does Bladder Cancer Happen
Most cases of bladder cancer appear to be caused by exposure to harmful substances, which lead to abnormal changes in the bladder’s cells over many years.
Tobacco smoke is a common cause and it’s estimated that half of all cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking.
Contact with certain chemicals previously used in manufacturing is also known to cause bladder cancer. However, these substances have since been banned.
Talking To Your Doctor About Bladder Symptoms
When you meet with your doctor, its important to share all the symptoms youre experiencing and to be as specific as possible. Its a good idea to prepare for your appointment by writing a list of your symptoms and the questions you would like to ask.
When you create a list of your symptoms, try to include the following:
- All the symptoms you have experienced
- How often and at what time of day the symptoms occur
- How long the symptoms last
- If the symptoms seem to be getting better or worse
- If the symptoms interfere with your usual daily activities
- If anything relieves or worsens these issues
In addition to having a detailed list of symptoms to bring to your appointment, be ready to share information such as all of the medications you take , your habits and lifestyle , and any major life changes or stressors you may be experiencing.
Most importantly, be sure to answer your doctors questions openly and honestly, as this will help them to achieve a timely and accurate diagnosis.
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How Common Is Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is the tenth most common cancer worldwide1. On a global basis, approximately 1 in 100 men and 1 in 400 women will develop bladder cancer during their lifetime2. Rates of the disease vary by region, the highest occurring in North America and Europe. In the United States, where bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer type diagnosed, it is estimated that approximately 81,000 new cases and 18,000 related deaths occur annually.3
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Can Bladder Cancer Go Undetected For Years
If symptoms such as blood in the urine and changes in urinary habits are ignored by an individual and/or repeatedly misdiagnosed, it’s possible that bladder cancer may not be detected for months or, in some cases, even years. In most cases, however, bladder cancer is diagnosed in its early stages: approximately half are found when the cancer is entirely within the surface layer of the bladder, while a third are found when the cancer has spread to deeper layers of the bladder wall but is still limited to the bladder. In the remainder of cases, the cancer has spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes or, rarely , to more distant parts of the body at the time of diagnosis.4
If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of bladder cancer it’s essential to consult your doctor. If your symptoms continue to persist after your first appointment, or if new symptoms arise, be sure to arrange a follow-up visit.
What Are The Stages Of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer can be either early stage or invasive .
The stages range from TA to IV . In the earliest stages , the cancer is confined to the lining of the bladder or in the connective tissue just below the lining, but has not invaded into the main muscle wall of the bladder.
Stages II to IV denote invasive cancer:
- In Stage II, cancer has spread to the muscle wall of the bladder.
- In Stage III, the cancer has spread to the fatty tissue outside the bladder muscle.
- In Stage IV, the cancer has metastasized from the bladder to the lymph nodes or to other organs or bones.
A more sophisticated and preferred staging system is known as TNM, which stands for tumor, node involvement and metastases. In this system:
- Invasive bladder tumors can range from T2 all the way to T4 .
- Lymph node involvement ranges from N0 to N3 .
- M0 means that there is no metastasis outside of the pelvis. M1 means that it has metastasized outside of the pelvis.
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Know Your Risk Factors For Bladder Cancer
Although scientists continue to research the exact cause of bladder cancer, researchers have identified key risk factors that increase the likelihood you may develop the disease. These risk factors include:
- Being or having been a smoker
- Being male
- Having a history of parasitic infections
- Having been exposed to certain chemicals or herbs
- Having a personal history of chronic UTIs
- Having a family history of or genetic markers for the disease
Learn more about the signs of bladder cancer and how we treat the disease by contacting our Burbank, California, office. You can request an appointment using our online tool or by calling 818-853-9679.
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If You’re Concerned About Bladder Cancer Ask Your Doctor About Cxbladder
Cxbladder is a non-invasive genomic urine test that quickly and accurately detects or rules out bladder cancer. The test combines clinical risk factor markers with genetic information, measuring five biomarker genes to detect the presence or absence of bladder cancer.
When should you consider using Cxbladder?
- When youve seen blood in your urine
- If preliminary tests have detected blood in your urine
- If you have a history of bladder cancer and are being monitored for recurrence
Cxbladder provides reliable results that will help your doctor make informed diagnosis and management decisions with you.
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Doctor’s Notes On Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is uncontrolled growth of any abnormal cells that make up bladder tissue. There are three main types of bladder cancer, urothelial or transitional cell carcinoma , squamous cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma. Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of bladder cancers are nonspecific, but if you have any of the following signs or symptoms, one of the bladder cancer types could be a cause. The general signs and symptoms of bladder cancers include
- pain and/or burning with urination without evidence or signs of urinary tract infection,
- changing bladder habits ,
- difficulty starting a urine stream, and/or a
- weak urine stream.
The exact cause of bladder cancer is not known but there are several potential causes. The single greatest risk factor for bladder cancer is tobacco smoking. Other potential causes are the person’s genetics, chemical exposure at work . Other potential causes include diet , medications like pioglitazone or cyclophosphamide , pelvic radiation, and/or arsenic in the drinking water.
What Are the Treatments for Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer treatments may include one or more of the following:
- Bladder cancer surgery
- Intravesical therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
The choice of treatments depends on a wide range of factors that include the cancer’s type, grade, stage, your overall health, and therapy preferences. Your doctors can help design a personal treatment plan.
Facts About Bladder Cancer In Women
While bladder cancer typically hasnt been associated with women, it is important to understand the unique way that bladder cancer does affect women, and why its critical that bladder cancer isnt overlooked.
- Approximately 50% of cases are diagnosed while the cancer is still in the bladder. However, that percentage is lower in women, because symptoms are often overlooked.
- Women have a 1 in 89 chance of developing bladder cancer in their lifetime . However, bladder cancer in women is on the rise.
- Approximately 90% of bladder cancer cases are in individuals over 55 years old, so it is important to be extra vigilant of early signs of bladder cancer as you age.
- Bladder cancer has a high recurrence rate. If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, it is important to continue to receive regular exams in order to handle any potential recurrence.
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Recurring Urinary Tract Infections
A urinary tract infection is an infection of your kidney, bladder and/or the tubes connected to them. Symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating, cloudy or smelly urine and needing to urinate more often or more urgently. If you get frequent UTIs without an obvious cause, this could be a sign of bladder cancer and you should see your doctor.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer
Health Check Certified By: Dr. Gerald Morris
Bladder cancer is among the most common types of cancer, with approximately 79,000 new diagnoses in the United States each yearthe vast majority of which are in males. According to the American Cancer Society, this accounts for about 5-percent of all new cancers in the US.
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Despite how common it is, bladder cancer is challenging to identify in its early stages, as it may not show any signs or symptoms. Typically, symptoms appear once the tumour grows larger or into the deeper layers of the bladder wall, says the Canadian Cancer Society. Because of the late onset of symptoms, its important to identify them quickly so as to begin treatment right away. Here are the five most common ones to be mindful of.
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What Is Upper Urinary Tract Cancer
Cancer is when cells in the body grow out of control, often forming a mass or tumor. In upper urinary tract cancer, abnormal cells are found in the:
- Renal pelvis
- Renal calyces
Cancers of the upper urinary tract are relatively rare. The most common of all upper urinary tract cancers are those found in the renal pelvis and renal calyces. Cancer in the ureters makes up about a quarter of all upper urinary tract cancers.
Tumors of the renal calyces, renal pelvis and ureters start in the layer of tissue that lines the bladder and the upper urinary tract, called the urothelium. Cancer that starts in the urothelium is called urothelial cancer. This is the most common type of cancer found in the bladder, as well. Because many of the organs in the urinary system share common cells, cancers found in these organs often look and act alike.
The urothelium is special in the way that it swells and shrinks to push urine through the urinary tract. Because it is in direct contact with the urine, this lining is exposed to chemicals filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. These chemicals can cause cells to change and grow out of control as cancer.
Because the bladder stores urine, it may be at greater risk for cancer than other parts of the upper tract. Its cells are exposed to harmful substances for a longer time. When urine has a high percent of harmful chemicals, cancer may also grow in the kidney or ureters.
The Most Effective Way To Treat Bladder Cancer Early Is To Be Aware Of The Warning Signs And To Act If You Notice Any Symptoms Here Are 3 Early Warning Signs
Bladder cancer is most common in people aged over 60, with more men developing the disease than women. Here are 3 common early warning signs of bladder cancer to be aware of.
Bladder cancer develops when abnormal cells in the bladder start to mutate, grow uncontrollably and more rapidly than normal cells. This can be caused by genetics, age, family history or lifestyle factors such as smoking. Bladder cancer is harder to detect than other types of cancers and symptoms often mirror less serious conditions. Knowing how to read the early warning signs can be vital for early treatment options.
Be vigilant of these key early warning signs. If any of these symptoms present themselves, please dont hesitate to get in touch for assessment.
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Facts And Stats On Bladder Cancer
Men have a higher incidence of bladder cancer than women.
Older adults are particularly affected as the risk for bladder cancer increases with age. Nine out of ten people diagnosed are over the age of 55. The average age is 73.
Bladder cancer has the highest recurrence rate of any form of cancer.
Due to the incidence and recurrence, prevention, early detection and prompt treatment are imperative.
Signs Of Bladder Cancer: What Women Should Know
Bladder cancer may not be on your radar even if youre vigilant about getting routine GYN care. After all, its far more common among men than women, and the majority of cases affect patients over age 65. However, dont let those stats keep you from learning to spot the warning signs.
While bladder cancer isnt one of the most common cancers in women, about 18,000 women are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year in the United States . The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network reports that women are more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer at an advanced stage because they may not be on the lookout for early signs.
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Expert Review And References
- American Cancer Society. Bladder Cancer Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging. 2016: .
- American Society of Clinical Oncology. Bladder Cancer. 2017: .
- Feldman AS, Efstathiou JA, Lee RJ, Dahl DM, Michaelson MD, Zietman AL. Cancer of the bladder, ureter, and renal pelvis. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2015: 65:896-916.
- Mark JR. Bladder cancer. Porter RS . Merck Manual Professional Edition. Kenilworth, NJ: Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. 2017: .
- National Cancer Institute. Bladder Cancer Treatment Health Professional Version. 2018: .
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
Bladder cancer does not necessarily cause urinary tract infections , but the symptoms and signs may be mistaken for a UTI. The presentation of bladder cancer and a UTI are quite similar. Upon hearing the symptoms and detecting blood in the urine in a urinalysis, a physician might misdiagnose the more common infection and prescribe an antibiotic. If an individual is getting consistent UTIs for no other apparent reason, however, this can indicate a more serious underlying condition such as bladder cancer.
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Other Causes Of Blood In The Urine
Blood in the urine is common. At any one time, between 1% and 18% of the population will have asymptomatic microscopic hematuria, but only 1.3% of patients with this symptom have bladder cancer. Other causes of hematuria include:
- Certain foods
- Some medications , Rifadin , certain blood thinners, laxatives. and chemotherapy drugs
- Bladder and/or kidney infections
Questions To Ask The Doctor
- What treatment do you think is best for me?
- Whats the goal of this treatment? Do you think it could cure the cancer?
- Will treatment include surgery? If so, who will do the surgery?
- What will the surgery be like?
- How will I pee after surgery?
- Will I have other types of treatment, too?
- Whats the goal of these treatments?
- What side effects could I have from these treatments?
- Is there a clinical trial that might be right for me?
- What about treatments like special vitamins or diets that friends tell me about? How will I know if they are safe?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- Is there anything I can do to help the treatment work better?
- Whats the next step?
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Nine Signs Of Bladder Cancer
Being exposed to harmful substances can increase your risk of developing bladder cancer. This means certain jobs put you at greater risk eg being a hairdresser or plumber, working in rubber manufacturing or iron and aluminium processing, or working with paint or dye. Smoking can also increase your risk of developing bladder and other cancers.
Bladder cancer refers to malignant tumours that usually start in the cells lining the inside of your bladder . There are different types of bladder cancer the most common is urothelial carcinoma, which makes up over 90% of cases. Other less common types of bladder cancer include adenocarcinoma, epidermoid carcinoma, small cell carcinoma and sarcoma.
Its important to get treatment for bladder cancer as soon as possible, but what are the symptoms you should look out for?
Here are some common signs and symptoms but keep in mind that these signs do not necessarily mean that you have bladder cancer and you should seek medical advice for a diagnosis.
Transurethral Resection Of A Bladder Tumour
If abnormalities are found in your bladder during a cystoscopy, you should be offered an operation known as TURBT. This is so any abnormal areas of tissue can be removed and tested for cancer .
TURBT is carried out under general anaesthetic.
Sometimes, a sample of the muscle wall of your bladder is also taken to check whether the cancer has spread, but this may be a separate operation within 6 weeks of the first biopsy.
You should also be offered a dose of chemotherapy after the operation. This may help to prevent the bladder cancer returning if the removed cells are found to be cancerous.
See treating bladder cancer for more information about the TURBT procedure
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