Bladder cancer is the sixth most diagnosed cancer in the U.S. It begins when the layer inside the hollow organ’s cells begin to malform and grow rapidly out of order, forming a tumor or tumors. Then signs and symptoms of bladder cancer begin.
People are more likely to get bladder cancer if they smoke, are exposed to certain chemicals, have had bladder cancer before, or have a history of it in their family, are a white male over 40 years old,or have a history of bladder or kidney infections, or catheterizations.
There are certain signs and symptoms of bladder cancer that physicians note, such as blood in the urine, painful urinating, trouble urinating, frequent urination,and back or flank pain. A person experiencing any of these symptoms for bladder cancer needs to see a doctor. He can check for bladder cancer staging, if needed. A thorough patient history is needed to help ascertain if the symptoms for bladder cancer are relevant and staging of bladder cancer is needed.
Bladder cancer stages are important,so tests are done to confirm the diagnosis and for the staging of bladder cancer, from 0-4.
Urine is tested microscopically for cell changes and occult blood. A cyctoscopy will be done where a tube with a camera is inserted via the urethra into the bladder to look at the lining of the bladder itself and obtain a biopsy.
X-rays with dye are done to check the urinary system, and C-T scans are done to view all aspects of the anatomy of the urinary system.
Once blood work and test results return, the physician can start to do bladder cancer staging.
Stage 0 is diagnosed when just the lining of the bladder has cancer cells. It is called papillary cancer or cancer in situ. It’s treatment is usually a transurethral resection. It is also done via the urethra and the tumor is removed. The physician may do a preventative insertion of chemotherapy inside the bladder at that time, which is called intravesicle chemotherapy. The knowledge of how frequently bladder cancer recurs is noted.
Stage 1 bladder cancer occurs when the cancerous cells have gone through the bladder lining into the next layer of cells. This stage of bladder cancer is treated similarly, but there may need to be a resection of an affected piece of the bladder. Drug therapy is given inside the bladder and radiation may be needed inside the bladder as well.
Stage 2 bladder cancer occurs when the tumor has gone through the bladder linings into the wall of muscle there. This stage of bladder cancer will call for a resection of part of the bladder. Lymph nodes surrounding the bladder may also be removed.. Chemotherapy and radiation will follow. It is especially at stage 2 and above that may change a person’s quality of life, regarding elimination, pain and sexual performance.
The stage 3 bladder cancer stage is when the tissues outside the bladder may be affected. Surgery is needed to do a partial to radical cystectomy of the bladder. Nearby tissues, such as the reproductive organs maybe be necessary to remove, as well as lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation are used. Along with this radical resection of the bladder in stage 3 or stage 4 bladder cancer, a diversionary tract for the urinary output must be made. Catheters may be used, or a urostomy may be done.
Stage 4 bladder cancer stage is when the tumor cells have invaded the abdomen, pelvis and possibly more in the patient. The radical resection and treatments from stage 3 are done with chemo, radiation, and the diversion.
Palliative care may also be needed at this point in the advanced disease.
New studies, techniques and clinical trials are going on constantly to help fight and prevent stage 4 bladder cancer as well as the other stages. Gene isolation,meds,and surgeries are in clinical trials for patients who qualify.