Bladder cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers that happens to adults. Statistics have shown that this disease occurs more in men than in women. Bladder cancer occurs mostly in adults, however, it affects people of all ages. This disease usually begins in the cells that line the inner part of the bladder. Although this disease occurs more in the bladder, it can also affect other parts of the urinary tract. Some of the symptoms of bladder cancer include hematuria, pain in the pelvis, and painful urination. Patients might also experience frequent urination. The causes of bladder cancer include smoking, exposure to chemical toxins, exposure to the huge amount of radiation, and infections. There are some factors that increase the risk of developing bladder cancer. Some of these factors include smoking, family history, exposure to excess radiation and some certain chemicals, bladder infections, and so on. This disease can be diagnosed by cystoscopy and tissue biopsy to confirm the diagnosis The treatment of bladder cancer depends on the stage of cancer. This usually involves the combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and surgery. Scientists are presently working on understanding how cancer stem cells contribute to relapse and resistance to treatments. This is important in creating an effective therapy for the treatment of bladder cancer.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer?
Below are some of the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer;
- Hematuria: This is one of the classic signs of bladder cancer. People affected by bladder carcinoma do complain of the redness of their urine. This is due to the presence of blood. You might sometimes need the aid of a microscope to see the blood. Hematuria is one of the most prevalent symptoms of bladder carcinoma. Hematuria occurs in almost all cases of bladder cancer.
- Pain associated with urination
- Pelvic pain
- Urination problems: This is one of the symptoms associated with disease of the urinary system. It’s not just peculiar to bladder cancer but to another disease of the entire urinary system. Patients do complain of urine urgency, and pain during urination.
- Formation of stones: This is quite common in people affected by bladder cancer. They do experience the formation of stones in their bladder and ureter. Apart from this, patients might also develop infections in the other components of the urinary systems such as in the kidney.
What Are The Causes Of Bladder Cancer?
Although the exact cause of bladder cancer is not known, there are some factors that increase the risk of developing the disease. They include;
- Smoking: Smoking is one of the most prevalent causes of bladder carcinoma. For example, the cigarette has over 64 carcinogens. This is also applicable to other types of smoking. However, quitting smoking reduces the risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Chemicals: A frequent and prolonged exposure to chemicals could lead to the development of bladder carcinoma. These chemicals could be job-related. An example can be found in painters. Inhaling aniline regularly for a long time could lead to the development of bladder cancer. Hairdressers also have a high risk of developing bladder cancer. This is because they regularly inhale hair dyes, which are carcinogenic.
- Radiations: Frequent exposure to the high amount of radiations can lead to the development of bladder carcinoma. This occurs in people that go for regular radiation tests, such as X-ray.
- Infections: There are some parasites that increase the risk of bladder carcinoma. This is common among people that have travelled out of the United States of America.
- Obesity: Excess weight and obesity are also one of the causes of bladder carcinoma.
It’s important to note that some people do develop bladder carcinoma without having any of the above risk factors.
What Are The Types Of Bladder Cancer?
There are different types of cells in the bladder that can develop into malignant cells. Basically, the type of cell that turns malignant will determine the type of bladder cancer the patient will have. Below are the types of cancer;
- Urothelial carcinoma: The urothelial carcinoma used to be referred to as the transitional cell carcinoma. The urothelial cells expand when the bladder is filled up with urine, and contracts when it’s empty. The transitional cells line the ureter and the urethra, meaning that tumours can develop in these places as well. Urothelial carcinoma is one of the most common cancers, especially in the United States of America.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This occurs when there is a prolonged irritation of the bladder. As an illustration, the long-term use of urinary catheters can lead to conditions such as infections. Squamous cell carcinoma is more predominant in third-world countries where schistosomiasis is prevalent.
- Adenocarcinoma: This tumour develops in the mucus-secreting glands of the bladder. This type of cancer is not often seen in the United States.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Bladder Cancer?
Below are some of the risk factors for bladder cancer;
- Smoking: Research has shown that cigarettes contain about 64 carcinogens. They tend to increase the risk of developing bladder cancer. In addition, these chemical toxins from cigarettes damage the inner lining of the bladder, which also predisposes the individual to cancer.
- Age: Bladder cancer tends to occur in people that are above the age of 40. However, it also occurs in people below this age.
- People with a past history of cancer have a high risk of also developing bladder cancer.
- Gender: Bladder cancer tends to occur more in men than in females.
- Race: Studies have shown that white people have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer, as compared to other races.
How Is Bladder Cancer Treated?
There are several approaches to the treatment of bladder carcinoma. These ranges from surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy. The kind of method your doctor would suggest depends entirely on the stage of cancer.
Stem Cell Therapy and Bladder Cancer
Scientists are presently working on understanding how cancer stem cells contribute to relapse and resistance to treatments. This is important to creating an effective therapy for the treatment of bladder cancer.
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National Cancer Institute. (2018). Bladder Cancer. [online] Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/bladder [Accessed 12 Mar. 2018].
Pathway analysis of bladder cancer genome-wide association study identifies novel pathways involved in bladder cancer development. (2016). Genes & Cancer.Get More Stem Cell Information at iSTEMCELL