When abnormal growth of cells occur in the body then it is usually cancer. Bladder cancer is similar and it begins in the inner linings of the bladder, the organ that stores urine after it passes the kidneys. Bladder cancer can be detected early and when t related are highly successful to prevent the disease from spreading beyond the bladder. Though there is a tendency for bladder cancer to return, so regular check-ups are very much necessary.
WHAT IS THE WARNING?
Blood in the urine is the most prominent sign of bladder cancer. It is either visible to the patient or it can be picked up during urine test. The urine usually looks darker than usual, brownish or rarely bright red. It should be noted that blood inthe urine is not caused by cancer alone but there may be several other reasons and they should be eliminated before concluding that it is cancer.
Bladder changes can be due to several other reasons but bladder cancer can also cause changes in bladder habits. This may include:
Needing to go, with little or no output
Feeling to urinate more often
Difficulty in urinating
Sometimes these symptoms may be due to urinary tract infection or bladder stones and it has to be checked properly.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Even today the exact causes of bladder cancer has not been pinpointed, but smoking is a leading risk factor. Smokers are four times more likely to get bladder cancer than people who do not smoke. Chemicals in the tobacco smoke are carried by the blood to the kidneys and into the urine. These harmful chemicals accumulate in the bladder, where they damage the cells and give rise to cancer.
EXPOSURE TO CHEMICALS
Workers in the metal industry, mechanics, hairdressers and those working white dyes in the rubber, textiles and leather industry are more prone to get bladder cancer. They constantly have contact with harmful chemicals and this leads to their potentially developing bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer can affect anyone but here are few prominent risk factors:
Men are three times more likely to get bladder cancer than women
Nine out of 10 cases occur over the age of 55
Europeans and whites are at greater risk
Family history of bladder cancer
Birth defects of the bladder
Chronic bladder irritation
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
Usually surgery is the most common treatment. Transurethral surgery is mostly done for early-stage cancers. If the cancer has invaded more of the bladder, then a partial cystectomy or removal of portion of the bladder is done. Sometime a radical cystectomy or removal of entire bladder is required. For men the prostate and urethra may also be removed whereas for women, the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and part of the vagina also will have to be removed.
Chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation are other modes of possible treatment.