Bladder Cancer

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What is it?

Cells that grow abnormally in the bladder can form tumors. This is known as bladder cancer. WebMD states that most bladder cancer is detected in its early stages. When found in its early stages, bladder cancer is easily treatable and will not result in a fatality. Bladder cancer is known to come back so it’s important to be checked out on a regular basis.

Causes

One of the major causes of bladder cancer is being exposed to the carcinogen benzidine 2-Naphthylamine. This carcinogen is found in cigarettes, but is also used by certain professions, such as: motor mechanics, machine setters, blacksmiths, leather workers, mechanics, rubber workers and bus drivers.

Hair dye is also believed to cause bladder cancer, so being a hair stylist can be somewhat of a risky profession.

Not drinking enough water a day (1.5L) also seems to be a cause of bladder cancer. It has been found that both men and women who drink less than a glass of water a day are more likely to get bladder cancer.

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Symptoms

The major indicator of having bladder cancer is blood in the urine. There is blood that is visible by the human eye, which is called macroscopic, or gross, hematuria, and there is blood that is only visible using a microscope. This is called microscopic hematuria.

Other symptoms that are common with bladder cancer are: feeling the need to urinate but being unable to do so, frequent urination, and pain when urinating. These symptoms are also symptoms of non-cancer related issues, whereas blood in urine is a typical sign of bladder cancer.

Diagnosis

To diagnose bladder cancer, a little camera in a tube is sent up through the genitals and into the bladder. This is called “cystoscopy” and is done by a urologist. Cystoscopy is very good at detecting bladder cancer but can also be very bad at not detecting it. There is a type of cystoscopy called “cysview” which, unlike cystoscopy that uses white light, uses blue light. This blue light helps to lower the rate of tumor recurrence. If suspicious looking lesions are found they are cut and pulled out and then biopsied.

There are tests that do not involve placing a tube in the urethra. These are the NMP22, UroVysion, CertNDx Bladder Cancer Assay and Cxbladder. Transurethral surgery is needed for a pathological classification. A transurethral resection is used to see if the tumor in the bladder can be moved or if it is embedded in the side of the bladder. This effects how easy it is to remove the tumor.

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Treatment

According to WebMD, there are 4 types of treatment for bladder cancer. They are: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and surgery. Chemotherapy involves destroying the cancer cells with medicine. Radiation therapy involves using powerful x-rays to blast away the cancer. Immunotherapy involves getting your body to start trying to get rid of the cancer itself. Surgery is fairly self explanatory mode of treatment – it involves using knives or lasers in order to remove the cancer from the body.

As mentioned earlier, bladder cancer is generally caught fairly early on as bloody urine is hard to ignore. Most people, when treated early enough, are able to keep their bladders. Even if a little bit of bladder has to be removed, doctors are now able to attach some other tissue and patch it up. In a worse case scenario, an artificial bladder can be used.