FACTS ABOUT BLADDER CANCER
According to the American Cancer Society, every year there are over 79,000 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed in the United States. Men are three or four times more likely to develop bladder cancer, and is the fourth most common cancer in men. The good news is that bladder cancer is very treatable and has high cure rates. It is estimated that over 500,000 people in the U.S. are bladder cancer survivors. There are two main forms of bladder cancer, which are:
- Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer (NMIBC) - this form of bladder cancer is limited to the lining of the bladder. About 75% of all bladder cancer cases that are diagnosed are NMIBC.
- Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer - if the bladder cancer has penetrated into the layers of muscle in the bladder, it is classified as muscle invasive. This type of bladder cancer has a high chance of spreading to other parts of the body if not treated.
Learn more about the treatments available for bladder cancer, treatment options, and more by clicking the links below.
- Signs and Symptoms
- Causes and Risk Factors
- Treating Bladder Cancer
- Bladder Cancer Resources
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BLADDER
Our bladder collects, stores, and ejects urine from our body. If bladder cancer start to develop, early warning signs and symptoms typically have to do with urination. Signs and symptoms of early stages of bladder cancer include:
- Bloody urine
- More frequent urination
- Pain or burning during urination
- A sensation of needing to urinate, even with an empty bladder
- Difficulty urinating or a weak urine stream
Schedule an appointment with a doctor for a screening if you start experiencing any of these symptoms. If you are diagnosed with bladder cancer, your doctor will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan.
CAUSES OF BLADDER CANCER
The causes of bladder cancer are not always obvious, and sometimes, people can develop it without having any clear risk factors. To decrease your risk of developing bladder cancer, avoid smoking and using other forms of tobacco. Also, if someone in your family has had bladder cancer, your risk is higher. Genetic testing is an option for those who want to learn more about the possibility of contracting a cancer in the urinary tract.
Other events that can contribute to this cancer include exposure to certain chemicals, past exposure to radiation, and parasitic infections. Chronic bladder inflammation can occur in certain individuals, such as those that use a catheter for a long period of time, which increases the risk of a squamous cell bladder cancer.
TreatMENT FOR Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is very treatable and often curable. In the past, the only treatment option for bladder cancer was the complete surgical removal of the bladder. With advances in cancer treatment technology, more options became available that allowed patients to keep their bladder and retain normal urination function.
The best type of treatment for bladder cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer. The main treatments for bladder cancer are:
- Radiation Therapy - applies doses of radiation to the tumor that kills cancer cells, halts the tumor’s ability to spread, and helps preserve healthy tissue.
- Surgery - with non-invasive bladder cancer, the tumor can be completely removed. Invasive bladder cancer spreads much faster, and it may be necessary to remove a portion of the bladder.
- Chemotherapy - mediation is used to kill cancer cells. Different types of drugs can be used, and which types that are best depends on the type and progression of the cancer.
- Biologic Therapy (Immunotherapy) - uses medication to strengthen the immune system, enhancing its ability to kill cancer cells.
QUESTIONS ABOUT BLADDER CANCER?
For any questions about bladder cancer and the treatment options available, just reach out to us at Southeastern Radiation Oncology Center here in Juneau, AK. We’re proud to provide the most advanced radiation therapy treatments to our patients close to home, so that they can heal in a comfortable and relaxing environment.
BLADDER CANCER RESOURCES
Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network
Bladder Cancer Webcafe
Also see Helpful Links
*Content provided by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, www.rtanswers.org, and the American Cancer Society.