The cancer arising from the epithelial lining of the urinary bladder is known as the bladder cancer. It is marked by the growth of abnormally multiplying cells in the bladder. As the cells grow, there is high chance that they will spread to different areas in the body.
Tobacco smoking has been identified as one of the most causes of bladder cancer. Today, there are many cases of bladder cancer among men though one- third of the cases are seen in women. The acquired gene mutation from chemicals in tobacco smoke, or radiation in the workplace which are absorbed by the blood are filtered in the body and reach the bladder which causes the bladder cancer. One of the most common among the various types of bladder cancer is the urothelial carcinoma.
The signs of bladder cancer can be found early, thus, there is a high chance of successfully treating bladder cancer. The most common symptom found is blood in the urine. Other changes such as frequent urination, burn or pain during urination, fatigue, loss of appetite and being unable to urinate are also symptoms of bladder cancer.
After locating the cancer using the results from different tests and scans, the stages of bladder cancer can be easily determined. The five stages, i.e. Stages 0 to stage IV are considered after the screening of the Tumor, Node and Metasis (spreading).
Stages of bladder cancer
- Stage 0
Cancer is found only on the surface of the inner lining of the bladder and can be easily removed. The cancer has not spread toward the narrow part of the bladder.
- Stage I
The growth extends from the lining into the lamina propria but it still does not spread.
- Stage II
At this stage, the cancer grows towards the thick muscle wall of the bladder but does not reach the fatty and. This stage is known as the muscle- invasive cancer.
- Stage III
From the thick muscle wall, the cancer spreads to the fatty layer of the tissue in the bladder. It spreads in different ways in a man versus a woman. In man, it may have spread to the prostrate and in woman it may have spread to the vagina.
- Stage IV
This stage is the most critical as the tumor spreads to the abdominal wall, lymph nodes and in other parts of the body.
Treatment of bladder cancer
Surgery is the first option for the bladder cancer patient It is the removal of the tumor from the bladder along with a margin of the healthy tissues surrounding the bladder. Some of the surgical treatments are: Transurethral bladder tumor resection (TURBT), Cystectomy, Urinary diversion, immunotherapy and chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy for Bladder cancer
Chemotherapy used to treat the bladder cancer is of two types. It is given over certain period of time and cycles. The sufferer may get doses of drugs one at a time or several at a single time. The chemo is given with or without radiation depending on the person’s overall health and other factors. The two main types of chemotherapy used in treatment of bladder cancer are:
- Intravesical chemotherapy: Early stage bladder cancer is treated with this type of chemotherapy by directly injecting the chemotherapy drug into the bladder. Since, this cannot reach the tumor cells growing inside the bladder, it is not recommended for use in later stages of the bladder cancer.
- Systemic chemotherapy: This type of chemotherapy is often given in the form of pills, injected in veins and muscles which allow the drug to travel throughout the body through the blood. Systemic chemotherapy is more effective than the Intravesical chemotherapy as it can destroy cancer cells and the tumor.