The bladder is a hollow, balloon-like organ that collects urine from your kidneys through tubes known as the ureters. The urine stored in the bladder is emptied from the body through another tube, known as the urethra, during urination.
Why be concerned with Bladder Cancer?
In the United States, approximately 55,000 new cases of bladder cancer are reported each year. For patients who are diagnosed and treated early in the progression of the disease, the outlook for recovery is good.
What are the risk factors for Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer is most often associated with cigarette smoking or a patient’s prior exposure to certain industrial chemicals found in dye, rubber, leather, textile, paint or print. The disease occurs most often in people over the age of 60.
Are there warning signs?
Blood in the urine is usually the first symptom. The urine may look bright red or rust colored and the amount of bleeding may vary. Frequent urination, painful urination and a constant urge to urinate are also symptoms of bladder cancer.
How is Bladder Cancer treated?
Treatment is based on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient’s age and general physical and emotional health. Bladder cancer can be treated with surgery, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Surgery may involve either a minimally invasive procedure known as a transurethral resection of the bladder (the removal of superficial tumors) or a cystectomy (the removal of a portion or the entire bladder and its surrounding organs). Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is an immunotherapy that attracts the normal cells of the immune system to the bladder where they destroy the bladder cancer cells. Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses strong pharmaceutical drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may include one drug or a combination of drugs.