Bladder cancer is more common in men than women, and it is the fourth most prevalent kind of cancer among American men. Although it does occur frequently, the most important thing to prevent its spread and increase its treatability is early detection. Bladder cancer often arises in older patients, but it can affect anyone regardless of their age. It regularly originates in the cells found in the bladder’s lining.
There are a few different types of bladder cancer:
Bladder cancer symptoms include frequent urination, blood in the urine, back and pelvic pain, and painful urination. A patient should go see a urologist on the onset of these symptoms, especially if they are persistent.
Once the patient sees a urologist, a series of tests may be conducted to see whether the patient has bladder cancer. A cystoscopy is performed for the urologist to see the urethra and bladder using a thin tube with a lens. During this procedure, a biopsy may be taken to test to see if the cells are cancerous. A transurethral resection (TUR) can also be used to take a biopsy from a patient. With a TUR, a resectoscope is used to remove the cancer for testing and to burn remaining cancer cells.
Other tests used to diagnose bladder cancer include urine cytology, where urine is examined under a microscope. Imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans may be used to review the urinary tract and its structures.
After a patient is diagnosed with bladder cancer, MRIs and chest X-rays are used to establish the stage of the cancer. The following are the four stages of bladder cancer:
The treatment of bladder cancer depends on the patient’s prognosis and cancer stage. If the patient is experiencing a Stage I bladder cancer, a TUR may be recommended to remove the cancer cells. A segmental, or partial, cystectomy can also be performed for the early stage of bladder cancer. With this procedure, the part of the bladder with cancer cells is removed.
If the cancer has progressed further, a patient may require a surgical procedure to remove the entire bladder called a radical cystectomy. During this procedure, the lymph nodes, prostate, and seminal vesicles may be removed. After the radical cystectomy is complete, the urologist may surgically create a different way for the patient to urinate using a tube or a portion of the patient’s intestine. Once surgery is performed, the patient may require chemotherapy or radiation to eliminate any existing cancer cells.
After a patient goes into remission, a urologist will closely monitor them with periodic follow-up tests for years to make sure that their bladder cancer does not return.
The urologists at Academic Urology have the knowledge and experience needed to treat patients with bladder cancer, regardless of its stage. Cancer can be a daunting time in a patient’s life, but having specialists guide you on your way to recovery can make it a little less disheartening. Call us today to learn more about the treatment options we offer for bladder cancer and other urologic conditions.