Bladder Cancer

Friday, December 4, 2009 · 1 comments

The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen (pelvis). It collects and stores urine produced by the kidneys. As it fills with urine, the muscular wall of the bladder stretches and the bladder gets larger. When the bladder reaches its capacity of urine, the bladder wall contracts, although adults have voluntary control over the timing of this contraction. At the same time, a urinary control muscle in the urethra relaxes. The urine is then expelled from the bladder.The urine flows through a narrow tube called the urethra and leaves the body. This process called urination, or micturition.

Cancer that forms in tissues of the bladder . Most bladder cancers are transitional cell carcinomas which means cancer that begins in cells that normally make up the inner lining of the bladder. Other types include squamous cell carcinoma i.e., cancer that begins in thin, flat cells and that is cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids. The cells that form squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma develop in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation. Bladder cancer occurs in the lining of the bladder. It is the sixth most common type of cancer in the United States.

Common symptoms of bladder cancer are blood in the urine , Pain during urination , and frequent urination, or feeling the need to urinate without results. These symptoms are nonspecific. This means that these symptoms are also linked with many other conditions that have nothing to do with cancer. Infections, benign tumors, bladder stones, or other problems also can cause these symptoms. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor so that the doctor can diagnose and treat any problem as early as possible. People with symptoms like these may see their family doctor or a urologist, a doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary system.
We do not know exactly what causes bladder cancer; however, a number of carcinogens have been identified that are potential causes, especially in cigarette smoke. Smoking is the single greatest risk factor for bladder cancer. Smokers have more than twice the risk of developing bladder cancer as nonsmokers. People who regularly work with certain chemicals or in certain industries have a greater risk of bladder cancer than the general population. Organic chemicals called aromatic amines are particularly linked with bladder cancer. These chemicals are used in the dye industry. Other industries linked to bladder cancer include rubber and leather processing, textiles, hair coloring, paints, and printing. Strict workplace protections can prevent much of the exposure that is believed to cause cancer. People whose diets include large amounts of fried meats and animal fats are thought to be at higher risk of bladder cancer. Some people are born with a visible or invisible defect that connects their bladder with another organ in the abdomen or leaves the bladder exposed to continual infection. This increases the bladder's vulnerability to cellular abnormalities that can lead to cancer.

If a patient has symptoms that suggest bladder cancer, the doctor may check general signs of health and may order lab tests. The doctor feels the abdomen and pelvis for tumors. The physical exam may include a rectal or vaginal exam. The laboratory checks the urine for blood, cancer cells, and other signs of disease. If bladder cancer is diagnosed, the doctor needs to know the stage, or extent , of the disease to plan the best treatment. Staging is a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has invaded the blaadder wall, whether the disease has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body.

Like all cancers, bladder cancer is most likely to be cured if it is diagnosed early and treated promptly. The most widely used therapies are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, either alone or in combination.Immunotherapy or biological therapy, which takes advantage of the body's innate cancer-fighting ability , is used in some cases, especially for patients with stages Ta, T1, and CIS.
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