Note: The information on cancer types on the ACRF website is not designed to provide medical or professional advice and is for information only. If you have any health problems or questions please consult your doctor.
What is bladder cancer?
Bladder Cancer can form in any the layers that line walls of the bladder.
The most common form of bladder cancer is transitional cell carcinoma, which appears as growths, like small mushrooms growing out of the bladder lining. In most cases, this form of cancer will be confined to the bladder’s lining and is unlikely to spread.
In some cases however, transitional cell carcinoma invades through the lining and into the muscular wall of the bladder, and sometimes into additional nearby organs.
Less common cancers of the bladder include squamous cell carcinomas, which are most common in developing countries. Another is adenocarcinoma, which is a cancer of the cells in the lining of the bladder that produce mucus.
Bladder cancer signs and symptoms
A sign is a presentation that can be seen or felt by someone else. The most common sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine.
A symptom is a feeling or something unusual you notice such as changes in bladder habits, for example having to urinate more often than usual or feelings of pain or burning during urination.
It’s important to note that many bladder cancer signs and symptoms are also associated with other diseases and conditions and may not necessarily indicate bladder cancer. It is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor.
Bladder cancer treatment
Different kinds of bladder cancer respond differently to treatment. Treatment and recovery rates depend on how far into the bladder’s layers the cancer has grown.
The most common treatment for bladder cancer confined to the bladder’s lining is minimal invasive surgery to remove the tumour.
For cancer that has invaded the bladder’s muscles and other organs, surgical removal of the bladder is the most common treatment. When this approach is taken, surrounding lymph nodes may also be removed to prevent recurrence, or the cancer spreading to other organs.
After the bladder has been removed, surgeons create a new method for the storage and removal of urine. Commonly, a conduit has been created using a segment of the small intestine to transfer urine from the kidneys through an opening on the skin into an external collection bag. Other methods involving the creation of a new internal bladder are becoming more common.
Patients suffering from invasive cancer are often treated with chemotherapy before or after surgery.
In some cases, doctors may opt to preserve the bladder through a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, rather than remove it.
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