A guide to bladder cancer

Posted on: 22 March 2019


Bladder cancer is an illness that causes the cells that the bladder is made from to multiply uncontrollably. Read on to learn more about bladder cancer and bladder cancer treatment.

The symptoms of this form of cancer

The most common symptom that people who have this disease notice is blood in their urine when they use the toilet. Occasionally those with bladder cancer may find that they feel the need to pass urine more often than they usually do. If the cancer is not detected and treated at an early stage, sufferers will develop other symptoms, such as pain in their back, pelvis and abdominal areas.

Who is most likely to develop bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer tends to occur more often in men than in women. Long-term heavy smokers also have a much higher risk of developing this particular form of cancer than non-smokers. Additionally, those who have been exposed to certain types of radiation and toxic chemicals may be more likely to develop bladder cancer, as are those who have a family history of this disease and those who have type 2 diabetes. Age is also a determining factor; elderly people are more susceptible to this type of cancer than younger people.

How this disease is treated

The type of bladder cancer treatment a person with this disease will be offered will depend on a number of things, including the size and the number of the tumours on the organ, as well as on how likely it is that the cancer will spread to other nearby body parts.

If the medical professionals who are treating a patient with this disease believe that the cancer has been caught early and is not very aggressive, they may perform a procedure called a TURBT (transurethral resection of a bladder tumour). This involves the insertion of a special tube called a cystoscope into the urethra, through which sharp instruments are then passed. These instruments are then used to remove each individual tumour.

If the cancer is deemed to be aggressive or very advanced, the entire bladder may have to be removed. This is done by performing a surgical procedure called a radical cystectomy. If this operation is performed, it will be followed up with another procedure that involves creating a different way for the patient to excrete the urine that their kidneys produce. This may consist of a bladder reconstruction or urostomy (to create a stoma for the person's urine output).

In addition to the above-mentioned procedures, patients with this disease may also be advised to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy to kill off any residual malignant cells in their body.