Bladder Cancer

Definition of the Bladder :

The bladder is an empty muscular organ that stores urine until it is discharged out of the body through the urethra, and which is located in your lower abdomen.

Where is bladder cancer located?

Bladder cancer begins in the cells of the bladder lining, most commonly in the urothelial cells; this cancer grows and forms a tumor.
Urothelial cells are found in your kidneys and the ureters which is the connection between your kidneys and your bladder.
Urothelial cancer can occur in the kidneys and ureters, too, but it’s more common in the bladder.
When a mutation occurs in the DNA of the bladder cells; cancer begins.

Types of bladder cancer

Different types of cells in your bladder can become cancerous; the type of bladder cancer depends on where the tumor’s cells begin. Doctors use this information to determine which treatment is the best for you.
The 3 main types of bladder cancer are:

– Urothelial carcinoma

Urothelial carcinoma or transitional cell carcinoma begins in the urothelial that line the inside of the bladder. Urothelial cells dilate when your bladder is full and contract when your bladder is empty. These same cells existent inside of the ureters and the urethra; so cancer can form in those places. Urothelial carcinoma is the most frequent type of bladder cancer in the United States.

– Squamous cell carcinoma
This type of cancer is triggered by chronic irritation of the bladder due to repeated urinary tract infections, especially in countries where the parasitic infection is the cause of bladder infections; and due to long-term use of a urinary catheter.

– Adenocarcinoma
Adenocarcinoma begins in cells that elaborate mucus-secreting glands in the bladder, and it’s very rare.
Some bladder cancers involve more than one type of cell.

Stages of Bladder Cancer…TNM staging system

This system is used by doctors to determine the stage of bladder cancer (Tumor, Nodule, and Metastasis).

Bladder cancer can be limited to the lining of the bladder or invasive (penetrating the bladder wall and possibly spreading to nearby organs or lymph nodes).

– Invasive bladder tumors can be classified from T2 (spread to the main muscle wall below the mucosa of the bladder) to T4 (tumor is extended beyond the bladder to nearby organs or the pelvic sidewall).

– Lymph node involvement classifies from N0 (no cancer in lymph nodes) to N3 (cancer in many lymph nodes, or in one or more bulky lymph nodes larger than 5 cm).

– M0 means the absence of metastasis outside of the pelvis, M1 means that the tumor has metastasized outside of the pelvis.

Follow the link for more information about stages of Bladder Cancer.

Signs of bladder cancer

Bladder cancer has no specific symptoms, so when the patient has: blood in the urine, pain during urination, frequent urination, or difficulty urinating; he should visit his urologist.

Risk factors

• Smoking
• Increasing age: especially when the patient is older than 55.
• Men have a high risk than women to develop bladder cancer.
• Certain chemicals products.
• Previous cancer treatment; a patient treated with the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide is at high risk of developing bladder cancer. People who already received radiation treatments focused on the pelvis for previous cancer have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer.
• Chronic bladder inflammation: due to repeated urinary infections, or long-term use of a urinary catheter; may expose the patient to bladder cancer.
• Personal or family history of bladder cancer.

Diagnosis and Treatment