Bladder cancer is relatively common, accounting for about 5% of all new cancers in the US. It occurs when the cells within the urinary bladder start to grow uncontrollably. The bladder itself is a hollow organ made up of several layers of different types of cells. As with any cancer diagnosis, the immediate reaction of fear and anxiety is understandable, but these feelings can often be eased with a little extra understanding of the type of cancer you are dealing with. Luckily, most bladder cancers are detected early on, before they become invasive, making treatment much more effective.
If you or a loved one is facing a bladder cancer diagnosis, what do you need to know?
1 – More likely to occur in men. It is the fourth most common cancer in men but less common in women. The chance that a man will develop this cancer is about one in twenty-eight, which is about three to four more likely than women. Most bladder cancer cases also occur in older people, with 73 being the average age of diagnosis.
2- Bladder cancer can be invasive or non-invasive. Most Bladder Cancer begins as a mutation of the innermost cells, which is called non-invasive bladder cancer. If the cancerous cells travel into the inner layers of the bladder walls, and/or into other nearby structures, it is known as invasive bladder cancer.
3 – Bladder cancers are also divided into two subtypes, papillary and flat, depending on the way that they grow. Papillary carcinomas grow in thin projections from the inner surface of the Bladder to the center, without growing outwards into the deeper layers of the bladder. These carcinomas are often slow growing and tend to have a positive outcome. Flat carcinomas don’t grow towards the center of the bladder at all and stay flat to the bladder wall. They can be of both the invasive and non-invasive variety. Other forms of bladder cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, small cell carcinoma and sarcoma are extremely rare, making up 1% or less of all bladder cancers.
4 – The cause is unknown. Researchers do not definitively know what causes bladder cancer, and widely believe that the risk for bladder cancer is not hereditary. What they have found is common risk factors such as exposure to tobacco smoke/products and unsafe exposure to industrial chemicals/cleaners.
5 – The most common symptom of early bladder cancer are blood in the urine. Symptoms can also include sudden changes in bladder activity or feelings of irritation. If you notice symptoms like these, or If you feel that you have a higher risk for bladder cancer than average, you should see your doctor right away as early detection is key to effective treatment.
If you have any questions about bladder cancer or would like to make an appointment, give us a call at 1-877-321-8452.