Bladder Cancer

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Overview

Bladder cancer is the cancer of the inner lining of the organ that stores urine. A common type of cancer in the elderly, it occurs in men more often than women. Although most cancers are caught in the early stage upon their presentation of symptoms, it can often recur after treatment. Early diagnosis and timely follow up, therefore, is of great importance.

Causes

A tumor is formed when normal dividing cells of the bladder undergo mutation and start dividing without control. Following are some of the causes of bladder cancer:

  • Smoking/tobacco use
  • Past radiation exposure
  • Parasitic infection (schistosomiasis)
  • Certain chemicals used in dyes, paint, rubber, leather.
  • Chronic bladder irritation (by infection or inflammation)

Symptoms

Bladder cancer can present as:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pain

Diagnosis

Bladder cancer can be diagnosed by the following:

  • Cystoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Urine cytology
  • Imaging (CT, MRI)
  • Bone scan or X-ray to assess spread

Treatment

Treatment plans depend on the stage and grade. Following are some options:

  • Surgical resection of the cancerous region
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
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