Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer

A disease of our urinary tract, bladder cancer is highly treatable when caught early but often reoccurs after initial treatment. The bladder, which stores our urine, consists of many layers; as the cancer grows, it penetrates more layers and becomes more difficult treat. Four types of tumors can cause bladder cancer, with the most common called transitional cell carcinoma. Although the cause of bladder cancer is unknown, you may be at higher risk if you have chronic bladder infections, a diet high in nitrates and fatty foods, prior radiation or chemotherapy treatments and exposure to chemicals found in dyes. A personal and family history of bladder also puts you at higher risk. See your doctor as soon as possible if you notice blood in your urine, a condition called hematuria. Frequent or painful urination, and abdominal or back pain may also be signs of bladder cancer.

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  • 1 Answer
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    Bladder cancer may be caught early and might need some minimally invasive procedures that would not require extensive surgery. But if the cancer progresses to a point where invasive surgery is needed, there could be many changes that affect the body. In cases where the entire bladder has to be removed (radical cystectomy), the surgery usually includes removing lymph nodes. But it would also include taking out the man's prostate and removing most of a woman's reproductive organs. For both sexes, this radical cystectomy would render them infertile.

    Removal of the bladder also creates the need to find another way for the body to collect the urine it creates. There are a couple of different methods. One creates a route from the kidneys to the outside of the body through a tube that has been created from a piece of intestine. The urine then runs through the tube and attaches to a small bag on the outside of the body. The other method also uses a piece of intestine to create a small pouch within the body where urine can collect until it is drained through a tube by a catheter. There are several problems that could arise when dealing with either of these reconstructive issues, including cleanliness and infection.

    Learning how to handle these physical changes in the body can also take an emotional toll, as can the constant fear or anxiety that the cancer may come back.

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    Surgery after bladder cancer can affect your sex life and your sexuality. If the cancer has gotten out of control and invasive surgery is necessary, you may have to have the entire bladder removed. This is called a radical cystectomy. Along with removing the cancerous bladder, lymph nodes and reproductive organs may be removed, leaving you infertile. Men will most likely have their prostate and seminal vesicles surgically removed. There may be some nerve damage, making it difficult to have an erection. Young women may start feeling the symptoms of menopause after removal of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and even part of the vagina.

    After reconstructive surgery, the presence of the urostomy bag (put in place to collect urine after the bladder has been removed) may make you feel self-conscious, especially in sexual situations. You may need some counseling to deal with the feelings you are having and to help you get through anxious times.

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    If you have some of the symptoms of bladder cancer, you should talk to your doctor. If caught early, bladder cancer is treatable. And the symptoms may be indicating something else. But only the proper tests and an exam by your doctor will help you to find out exactly what it is, so talk to your doctor.

  • 3 Answers
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    For most people, the first symptom of bladder cancer is hematuria, blood in the urine. Hematuria is either gross (visible) or microscopic:

    •Gross/Visible means it can be seen with the naked eye
    •Microscopic means blood is only visible when a sample is examined under a microscope

    Irritative urination symptoms are also associated with bladder cancer such as:

    •Pain

    •Burning

    •Frequency of urination

    •Incomplete emptying of the bladder

    •Passage of tissue fragments in urine is another symptom, though not as frequent

    The presence of one or all of these signs does not mean you have cancer, but because these are abnormal body functions, you should seek medical attention. Some people don’t experience any signs or symptoms at all, so it’s important to get regular physicals and routine screenings that could pick up on early warning abnormalities.

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    A , Gynecology, answered
    Urinary incontinence can be a symptom of bladder cancer, but it is rarely the first or only sign of this disease. If you have other symptoms, such as blood in your urine, your physician is likely to suggest specific tests to rule out bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is much less common than cancers of the colon, lungs, breast, or prostate.
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    An absolute method to prevent bladder cancer doesn't exist. Taking steps to limit your possible risks may help to some degree. Eat a healthy diet including lots of fruits and vegetables. Get plenty of water to drink every day to keep any toxins moving out of your body. If you smoke, try to stop. Be sure if you work around dangerous chemicals that all proper precautions are taken that the workplace is safe. Be aware of other risk factors you may encounter--arsenic in drinking water, the diabetes medicine pioglitazone, aristolochic acid (found in some diet supplements), previous treatment for cancer, and chronic bladder infections and irritations all raise your risk.
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  • 1 Answer
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    A Urology, answered on behalf of
    In the United States, people are often screened for bladder cancer by way of a urine test (usually on an annual basis). We look for blood in the urine. If you’re at high risk, you should get screened more frequently. Some of the newer urine tests are more sensitive than just a urine analysis, so if you’re high risk, you may benefit from certain tests.
  • 2 Answers
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    Not smoking is one of the best things patients can do. Smoking is linked to several other types of cancer, but we’ve found that it’s directly related to the development of bladder cancer. And of course healthy eating and exercising can help, too.
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    A , Urology, answered
    Cruciferous vegetables are a special group of vegetables known to have excellent cancer fighting properties. These vegetables contain isothiocyanates, phytochemicals known to stimulate our bodies to break down potential carcinogens (cancer causing substances).  The following are examples of cruciferous vegetables:
    • Arugula
    • Bok choy
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Chinese cabbage
    • Collard greens
    • Daikon
    • Kale
    • Kohlrabi
    • Mustard greens
    • Radishes
    • Rutabaga
    • Turnips
    • Watercress
    Increase consumption of raw cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decrease risk of bladder cancer. Previous epidemiologic studies investigating cruciferous vegetable intake and bladder cancer risk have been inconsistent. Cooking can substantially reduce or destroy isothiocyanates, and this could account for study inconsistencies.
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    A Urology, answered on behalf of
    The invasiveness of bladder cancer is defined by T categories. The smaller tumors that have not yet invaded any layers of the bladder are called Ta bladder tumors. Sometimes these non-invasive tumors can be flat lesions, or Tis tumors. However, Tis tumors can be very aggressive while most Ta tumors tend to be more indolent. Sometimes the cancer can invade the lamina propria layer, and these are called T1 tumors. If it invades the muscle, it would be a T2. If it invades the surrounding fat, it’s a T3. Finally, if it invades the organs, it’s a T4.

    Approximately 51% of time the bladder cancer is localized to the inner layer; 35% of the time, the cancer localized to the bladder; 7% of the time the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes; and 4% of the time, the cancer has spread to other organs such as the lung, bone, or liver. 
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