Bladder cancer is a major kind of cancer that infects 2,800 Australians annually. This cancer often occurs in the inner lining of a bladder. However, there are cases when it occurs in other parts of the urinary tract, such as the ureter and renal pelvis. Below is a short guide on bladder cancer, including how to manage and treat the disease.
Causes of Bladder Cancer
The disease occurs when cells in your bladder or urinary tract system begin to mutate, thus forming a tumour. Tobacco use, exposure to radiation or chemicals such as benzidine can cause bladder cancer. It may also be genetically inherited from family members that have the disease. Men and senior adults are at higher risk of getting the disease.
Bladder Cancer Diagnosis
People with bladder cancer may exhibit the following symptoms:
- A painful sensation when urinating.
- Blood or blood clots in the urine.
- Urinating frequently. Alternatively, patients may feel the urge to urinate, but they do not have any urine to pass.
- Pelvic or back pains.
You should visit your doctor if you exhibit one or more of these symptoms. To test for bladder cancer, the doctor will examine your urine to check if it has cancer cells. If you test positive for bladder cancer, the doctor will recommend cystoscopy to examine the extent of the disease.
Management and Treatment
Below are a few ways to treat bladder cancer.
Transurethral bladder tumour resection involves the insertion of a cystoscope inside the bladder. The surgeon will then remove the tumour using a laser or fulguration device. Lymph node dissection is ideal if the cancer is widespread. The procedure removes the whole bladder and nearby organs that may be infected.
This therapy is the use of X-rays to destroy cancer cells. More often than not, it is administered alongside other medications to prevent the re-occurrence of cancer cells in the system.
Chemotherapy is the administration of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Intravesical chemotherapy injects medication into the bladder using a catheter. Its downside is that it cannot kill cancer cells that are not in the bladder. Systemic chemotherapy is used if the disease has spread to other organs.
Immunotherapy is a medical intervention that helps boost the ability of the immune system to fight the cancer cells. Regarding bladder cancer, the doctor may recommend interferon or Bacillus Camette-Guerin (BCG).
People with bladder cancer must observe a healthy lifestyle. Typically, they should avoid risky behaviours, such as smoking. Besides, they should take lots of foods and vegetables to help boost their immunity. For more information on bladder cancer treatment, contact a doctor.