New Hope Unlimited has found that many times symptoms may be improved and possibly reversed with our Alternative Bladder Cancer treatments.
Bladder cancer forms in the urinary bladder due to the cells that divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. Most bladder cancers begin in the innermost lining of the bladder, which is also called urothelium or transitional epithelium. Once bladder cancer spreads to the other layers of the bladder wall, it becomes more severe and challenging to treat. More so, bladder cancer can also metastasize and reach other areas of the body.
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Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer and accounts for about 90% of bladder cancer cases. It develops in the urothelial cells, which is why it can also be referred to as urothelial carcinoma.
Transitional cell carcinoma can be classified into several types. It can be considered as invasive or non-invasive. The case is considered non-invasive if the cancer lies in the inner layer of the bladder and have not grown into deeper layers. Meanwhile, the condition is invasive if the cancer has grown into the other layers of the bladder and are more likely to metastasize. The latter is harder to treat.
Further, transitional cell carcinoma is categorized based how it grows. It is classified as papillary if it grows towards hollow center of the bladder, but considered as flat if it doesn’t progress towards the bladder’s hollow area and remain in the inner layer of the bladder cell.
Other less common types of bladder cancer include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, small cell carcinoma, or sarcoma.
Bladder Cancer Statistics
In 2016, it is estimated that there will be 76,960 new cases of bladder cancer and about 16,390 deaths due to the disease. Bladder cancer makes up 5% of all cancer cases in the United States and is the fourth most common cancer among males.
Half of bladder cancers are found in the inner layer of the bladder wall. Only about 4% of bladder cases have spread to other parts of the body.
Most bladder cancer cases are detected early, making them easier to treat. However, it’s still imperative for cancer survivors to undergo regular follow-up check-ups because bladder cancer can come back. Regular consultations can help detect and address recurrence promptly.
Some of the symptoms that may indicate the presence of bladder cancer are as follows.
- Hematuria or blood in the urine
- Pyuria or pus in the urine
- Dysuria or painful or difficult urination
- Burning during urination
- Increased need to pee frequently even if the bladder is not full
- Weak urine stream or being unable to urinate
- Lower back pain
- Swollen feet
- Pain in the bones
- Tiredness or weakness
- Appetite and weight loss
- Pelvic mass or growth in the pelvis
- Pain in the rectal, anal or pelvic area
It’s important to note that some of these signs are also possible indication of other bladder problems or health conditions. If you experience any of the things listed above, it’s best to consult a doctor to determine what’s causing the symptoms and employ appropriate treatment to prevent the condition from becoming severe.
What causes bladder cancer is yet to be known, but there are risk factors that may affect a person’s chances of developing the disease. Some factors are dependent on lifestyle choices and can be easily controlled, while others are innate or inevitable. Let’s look at each of them.
- Age – Bladder cancer is common among older people. 90% of bladder cancer patients are over the age of 55.
- Gender – Men are more likely to develop the disease three to four times more than women. For men, the chance is 1 in 26 while for women, it’s 1 in 88.
- Smoking – Smokers are three times more likely to develop bladder cancer. Smoking causes about half of all bladder cancers in both men and women.
- Exposure to certain chemicals – Chemicals such as benzidine and beta-naphthylamine may increase your risk to bladder cancer. People working in rubber, leather, textile, paint, and printing industries may be more prone to the disease because of their exposure to different chemicals and substances. Meanwhile, arsenic exposure through water is also linked to bladder cancer. Exposure depends on your water source, but for Americans, water is not a major source of arsenic.
- Medication and herbal supplements – Dietary supplements that have the ingredient aristolochic acid may be linked to bladder cancer. More so, pioglitazone, a medication used for diabetes may increase risk of the disease if it’s used for more than a year. However, the link is still being investigated through research.
- Insufficient fluid intake – Fluid intake can also influence a person’s risk for bladder cancer. Those who frequently take fluids, especially water, may have lower chances of incurring the condition perhaps because they tend to urinate and empty their bladders often. As a result, chemicals and unwanted substances will be easily eliminated from the body and not sit in the bladder for a long time.
- Family history – People who have relatives and family members with bladder cancer are more likely to develop the condition.
- History of chemotherapy and radiation therapy – Cyclophosphamide, a drug used in chemotherapy, can increase the risk of bladder cancer. Meanwhile, those who previously went through radiation treatment is also at an increased risk for bladder cancer.
- Birth defects – If part of the urachus, the connection between the belly button and bladder, remains after birth, it may become cancerous. However, this is a rare occurrence and only accounts for less than 1% of bladder cancer cases.
Exstrophy is another birth defect that may increase bladder cancer risk. This occurs when the bladder and the different parts surrounding it form abnormally.
Because the cause of bladder cancer is still unknown, there’s no sure-fire way to prevent the disease. However, the best way to reduce your chances of developing the condition is to manage risk factors that you can control, which have a lot to do with lifestyle choices.
If you want to reduce your chances of having bladder cancer, avoid smoking at all costs. As mentioned, smokers are three times more likely to develop the disease. Kick the habit to the curb and not just avoid bladder cancer, but also other health conditions that can be triggered by tobacco use.
Smart lifestyle choices such as drinking plenty of fluids can also help lower your risk of bladder cancer. Eating fruits and vegetables may also be beneficial. While the link between such food items and bladder cancer is still being investigated, it wouldn’t hurt to keep a healthy diet.
In addition, limiting your exposure to certain chemicals can also help lower your risk of bladder cancer.
Diagnostic Tests for Detection
Bladder cancer can be diagnosed through various tests, and these are:
- Evaluation of medical history and physical exam – This is done during consultation and as a form of investigation to further evaluate your symptoms and risk factors. During the physical exam, a digital rectal exam may be performed to determine the presence of bladder tumor. Depending on the results, you may be prescribed to undergo further tests or referred to another specialist.
- Urine Tests – These consist of different types of test conducted on a sample of urine and are done to determine the presence of cancer cells, infection, and tumor markers. Urinalysis, urine cytology, urine culture, and urine tumor marker tests are usually done to detect bladder cancer.
- Cystoscopy – This test is done in order to take a look at the bladder and its inner lining.
- Biopsy – If the cystoscopy found any abnormal areas in the bladder, biopsy may follow suit to determine if they are cancerous. A sample of the tissue will be collected and will be evaluated to confirm the presence of cancer.
- Imaging tests – Imaging tests are done in order to see a detailed picture of the bladder and other parts of the body to determine whether cancer has spread. Imaging tests include CT scan, MRI scan, Ultrasound, intravenous pyelogram, retrograde pyelogram, bone scan, and chest x-ray.
Bladder cancer is the last thing anyone would want to deal with. But if the disease struck you or a loved one, there’s no need to fret. New Hope Medical Center can help you find options. Over the years, we have helped individuals and families fight bladder cancer and continue to live a good quality of life despite the condition.
We’ve conducted many case studies on bladder cancer and here’s one based on a diagnosis we handled:
The patient is a 46-year-old female who presents in July 2001 with a history of recurrent urinary tract infections, urinary frequency, and urgency. She is a clerical office employee who gets no routine exercise and drinks approximately 8 plus cups coffee daily. She never noticed any obvious blood in her urine but did have reduced bladder capacity. She was treated with several different antibiotics including sulfa and Cipro. She developed some vague low back pain.
In November 2001, a CT scan of pelvis and abdomen was performed and revealed small lesions in the left lobe of the liver and spleen. The test also showed a large bladder tumor. A TUR of the bladder confirmed a grade 2/3 transitional cell carcinoma with muscle invasion.
The patient was scheduled for a radical cystectomy with an ileal loop conduit. Preoperative staging included CT scans showing enlarged left ovary and a right external iliac node measuring 1 cm. The patient was taken to the operating room in December where exploratory laparotomy was performed. Pelvic lymph nodes were sent to pathology. Two of seven lymph nodes contained metastatic transitional cell carcinoma, the largest measuring 2.8 cm. A very large hard node was seen in the obturator fossa on the right. This was positive for metastatic transitional cell carcinoma, and the cystectomy was aborted.
The patient received treatment at New Hope Medical Center. After treatment, CT scans of the pelvis and abdomen have continued to show no evidence of metastatic disease.
- Bladder – a musculomembranous sac that serves as a reservoir for urine
- Chemotherapy – a treatment for disease by using chemical agents
- Cystectomy – resection or removal of the bladder
- Cystoscope – a “telescope like” instrument used for visual examination to inspect the bladder
- Cystoscopy – a procedure that allows direct visual examination of the bladder using a cystoscope
- Malignant – a cancerous growth which has the tendency to progress
- Metastatic – the transfer of cancer from one organ to another
- Radiation – a treatment for disease using high-frequency ionizing radiation
- Transurethral resection (TUR) – a procedure performed with the use of an instrument that’s passed through the urethra in order to remove abnormal tissue.
- Tumor – a growth of tissue in which the division of cells is uncontrolled and progressive