Bladder Cancer Facts You Should Know

    Bladder cancer occurs when the cells in the urinary bladder grow out of control, forming tumors and progressively encroaching on the healthy tissues of the bladder. Occasionally, metastasis — the spread of cancer from nearby tissue — can result in a malignant bladder tumor. Otherwise, bladder cancer is caused by tumor growth.

    The American Cancer Society estimates about 81,180 new diagnoses of bladder cancer, in the United States, in 2022, making knowledge of this ailment all the more crucial. Fortunately, bladder cancer has warning signs that you can check for before seeking tests and therapies.

    Bladder Cancer Red Flags

    It might be difficult to identify bladder cancer in its early stages. Many tumors are painless when they are tiny, but there are a few techniques to detect bladder cancer early and boost your chances of recovery.

    Detecting bladder cancer in its early stages can be challenging, but you should watch out for the following typical red flags:

    • Bloody urine
    • Painful urination
    • Frequent or uncontrolled urinating

    If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor. Inquire about a bladder cancer screening. This is the most accurate approach to assessing whether you have early-stage bladder cancer.

    Early Warning Signs

    Symptoms will develop as bladder cancer progresses. Pain is uncommon in the early stages of this malignancy, although it may emerge as symptoms worsen.

    Some of the warning signs and symptoms of advanced bladder cancer include:

    • Continuous or persistent lower back discomfort
    • Urination difficulties
    • Appetite loss
    • Fatigue
    • Feeling sickly
    • Foot or leg swelling
    • Bone ache
    • Pain in the abdomen
    • A chronic, inexplicable cough
    • Jaundice, or yellowing skin

    Once these symptoms appear, treating your cancer may become more challenging. However, with the proper medical team and the correct treatment, you may still be able to achieve remission. Your doctor's office can perform a thorough cystoscopy exam.

    If your doctor is still unclear about your diagnosis, a biopsy of your bladder tumor and bladder muscle may be performed. This is known as a transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). It is utilized to assess the type of tumor and how deeply it is embedded in the bladder muscles.

    Your doctor may arrange for imaging scans such as a CT scan, an MRI, a PET scan, or an ultrasound in order to detect whether or not your bladder cancer has spread to other regions of your body.

    Bladder Cancer Treatment

    In certain circumstances, a malignant bladder tumor can be removed with a simple TURBT operation. A pelvic lymph node dissection or a radical cystectomy may also be used.

    The bladder, prostate, and, in many cases, the urethra are all completely removed during a radical cystectomy in males. Women may have their ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and a portion of their vagina removed. It is necessary to remove the lymph nodes close to the bladder during pelvic lymph node dissection.

    Urinary diversion is a treatment used to offer urine a new channel to exit the body after the bladder has been removed. A urine bag may be worn outside the body in specific instances. However, it is becoming more common to build a new bladder using intestinal tissue.

    Patients with bladder cancer can also receive chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation treatment.

    Intravesical chemotherapy entails injecting anti-cancer medications directly into the bladder. Systemic chemotherapy is administered either intravenously or orally. Immunotherapy is another possible treatment for bladder cancer that includes stimulating the immune system to combat cancer cells. Oncologists may also recommend radiation treatment in specific instances.

    What’s Next

    Although bladder cancer is a powerful opponent, your chances of beating it are high if you detect it early. If you have any cause to believe you have bladder cancer, see your doctor immediately. Caution and swift action can make the difference between life and death.

    Alternative therapies are also available for patients suffering from bladder cancer. The "cut, poison, and burn" strategy is how some proponents of complementary medicine refer to allopathic, traditional bladder cancer therapies. If you do not wish to pursue allopathic treatment, there are a few alternative therapy options available to you.

    For example, some experts feel that food may have a significant role in cancer prevention. Particularly, it has been found that the ketogenic diet may be helpful in the fight against cancer. Another type of complementary cancer treatment is the Gerson Diet, which includes coffee enemas and the intake of fresh fruit.

    Working to enhance your general health and well-being may help you fight bladder cancer. Of course, before attempting any alternative treatment, conduct extensive research and discuss with your doctor. You have alternatives, when it comes to bladder cancer, but the best course of action is a swift response.