Bladder cancer ranks fifth on the list of the most common cancers in the United States. Almost 60,000 cases are diagnosed each year, and more than 12,000 will die from the disease. Men, Caucasians and smokers have twice the risk of bladder cancer than the general population. When diagnosed and treated in a localized stage, bladder cancer is very treatable, with a five-year cancer-specific survival rate approaching 95%.
Smoking is the greatest risk factor for bladder cancer. The incidence increases in people 50 years of age and older. Chronic bladder problems like infections and kidney stones may also be risk factors, although no direct link has been established.
Treatment for bladder cancer
The treatment for bladder cancer depends on the type of cancer and the stage and grade. A team of doctors and other health care staff will plan your treatment. This is known as a multidisciplinary team. This is a team of staff who specialise in treating cancer of the urinary system and in giving information and support. It will normally include:
urologists (surgeons who are experienced in bladder surgery)
specialist nurses, who give information and support
oncologists – doctors who have experience in bladder cancer treatment using
Transurethral resection (TUR) is used to remove large superficial bladder tumors or tumors that penetrate more deeply into the tissue but have not spread outside the bladder.
Surgical removal of the bladder (cystectomy) is usually done for the most advanced stages of cancer that is confined to the bladder. Cystectomy may also be done for high-grade bladder cancers or when there are multiple tumors in the bladder. Surgery may not be recommended for an older adult who has a long-term medical condition.
Surgery to create a new way for urine to leave your body. Immediately after your radical cystectomy, your surgeon works to create a new way for your body to expel urine. Several options exist. Which option is best for you depends on your cancer, your health and your preferences. Your surgeon may create a tube (urinary conduit) using a piece of your intestine. The tube runs from your kidneys to the outside of your body, where your urine drains into a pouch (urostomy bag) you wear on your abdomen.
Cancer that is only in cells in the lining of the bladder is called superficial bladder cancer. The doctor might call it carcinoma in situ, which is cancer that involves only the cells in which it began–and that has not spread to neighboring tissues. This type of bladder cancer often comes back after treatment. If this happens, the disease most often recurs as another superficial cancer in the bladder.
Cancer that begins as a superficial tumor may grow through the lining and into the muscular wall of the bladder. This is known as invasive cancer. Invasive cancer may extend through the bladder wall. It may grow into a nearby organ such as the uterus or vagina (in women) or the prostate gland (in men). It also may invade the wall of the wall of the abdomen.
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