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Bladder Cancer

What is Bladder Cancer ?

Bladder cancer refers to any of several types of malignant vagina growths of the urinary bladder. It is a disease in which abnormal cells multiply without control in the bladder. The bladder is a hollow, muscular organ that stores urine; it is located in the lower abdomen. The most common type of bladder cancer begins in cells lining the inside of the bladder (epithelial cells) and is called transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).

Causes of Bladder Cancer

Cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) in the urine may lead to the development of bladder cancer. Cigarette smoking contributes to more than 50% of cases, and smoking cigars or pipes also increases the risk. Some other causes includes:

  • Diet high in saturated fat
  • Hairdressers
  • Petroleum workers,

Signs & Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer may cause blood in the urine, pain during urination, frequent urination, or feeling the need to urinate without results. These signs and symptoms are not specific to bladder cancer, and are also caused by noncancerous conditions, including prostate infections and cystitis.

Diagnostic Tests

Diagnosis of bladder cancer includes urological tests and imaging tests. Tests may include the following:

  • Urine cytology
  • Physical exam
  • Cystoscopy
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
  • Urinalysis (to detect microscopic hematuria)


The cancer's stage, the patient's lifestyle, other health problems, and mental outlook all help to determine which therapy is selected. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or one of several new treatments may be used.

Surgical procedures
Surgical treatments are usually the best option for people with bladder cancer. The most common procedures include:

  • Transurethral resection (TUR)
  • Segmental cystectomy
  • Radical cystectomy

Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given internally by placing the drugs directly in the bladder, called intravesical chemotherapy. It may also be given systemically, to affect cancer cells throughout the body.

Radiation uses high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. External beam radiation is emitted from a machine outside the body and internal radiation is emitted from radioactive "seeds" implanted into the tumor. Either type of radiation therapy may be used after surgery to destroy cancer cells that may remain. Radiation therapy is also used to relieve symptoms (called palliative treatment) of advanced bladder.

Biological therapy
Biological therapy uses the body's own immune system to fight cancer. In one form of this therapy, a solution called bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is placed in the bladder, where it stimulates the immune system to kill the cancer cells.

Prevention Tips

While there is no known way to prevent bladder cancer, you can reduce your chances of developing the disease. The American Cancer Society offers the following recommendations:

  • Don't smoke.
  • Avoid occupational exposure to certain chemicals.
  • Drink plenty of liquids or water.

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