Bladder Cancer Types, Stages, Grades, Signs, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnostic Procedures, Treatment, Specialists & Doctors
Bladder cancer like any other cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the walls of the bladder, also known as the urothelial cells (inner cells in the lining of the insides of the bladder). This growth gradually forms a tumor and thereafter spreads to other parts of the body. Though urothelial cancer can occur in the kidneys and ureters as well it is much more common in the bladder. However, this is not a cause of worry as this cancer is treatable as it usually gets diagnosed at an early stage but still, a session of follow-ups may be required for years because of its recurring nature.
TYPES OF BLADDER CANCER
There are 3 main types of bladder cancers depending upon the kind of tumour:
- Urothelial Carcinoma (UCC) also known as Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC) is the most common type of all bladder cancer. It begins in the urothelial cells found in the urinary tract.
- Squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cells develop in the bladder lining in response to irritation and inflammation and may become cancerous. This cancer accounts for about 4% of all bladder cancers.
- Adenocarcinoma. It is the rarest type of bladder cancer and develops from glandular cells.
There are other types of bladder cancers too, such as sarcoma of the bladder and small cell bladder cancer but they are very rare.
STAGES AND GRADES OF BLADDER CANCER
Bladder cancer can be either in early stage (confined to the lining of the bladder) or invasive (penetrating the bladder wall and possibly spreading to nearby organs or lymph nodes).
The stages are from TA (confined to the internal lining of the bladder) to IV (most invasive). In the beginning stages (TA, T1 or CIS), the cancer is confined to the lining of the bladder or in the connective tissue just below the lining, but has not spread into the main muscle wall of the bladder.
The latter stages i.e., from stage II to IV, denote invasive cancer. These involve the spread of cancer to the muscle wall and/or to the other organs or bones from the bladder. However, doctors use the more advanced systems of staging i.e., TNM, which stands for tumour, node involvement and metastases. In this:
- T2 suggests the spread of cancer to the main muscle wall below the lining. In T4, the tumour spreads beyond the bladder to the nearby organs or the pelvic sidewall. These stages represent invasive bladder cancer.
- Lymph node involvement ranges from N0 (no cancer in lymph nodes) to N3 (cancer in many lymph nodes, or in one or more bulky lymph nodes larger than 5 cm).
- M0 means that there is no metastasis outside of the pelvis. M1 means that it has metastasized outside the pelvis.
RISK FACTORS OF BLADDER CANCER
- Smoking and excessive use of tobacco- People with smoking habits such as cigarettes are more likely to suffer from bladder cancer as compared to non-smokers.
- Exposure to certain chemicals such as aromatic amines which are mostly used in dyes and paints and rubber making industries increase the risk of bladder cancer.
- Certain drugs such as pioglitazone and dietary supplements which contain aristolochic acid may be associated with bladder cancer.
- Nowadays, the presence of arsenic in drinking water is also increasing the risk of bladder cancer.
- People with a history of bladder cancer and other associated problems like kidney stones, bladder irritation are often at higher risks of being diagnosed with bladder cancer or recurring cancer.
- Factors like race, ethnicity, age, gender and genetics too affect the risks and possibilities of developing bladder cancer.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF BLADDER CANCER
The most common symptoms which may be indicative of bladder cancer are:
- Blood in the urine
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Urgent urination
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Pain in the lower back
DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES FOR BLADDER CANCER
On susception, a series of lab tests and exams are done to confirm the diagnosis. Some of the major diagnostic procedures are listed below:
Step 1: Urine tests
- Urinalysis: This is a simple lab test done to check for blood and other substances in a urine sample.
- Cytology: For this test, a sample of urine is looked at with a microscope to see if there are any cancer or pre-cancer cells in it.
- Urine Culture: This test may be done to see if an infection (rather than cancer) is the cause. One or more of these tests may be used along with urine cytology to help see if you have bladder cancer.
Step 2: Cystoscopy
If bladder cancer is suspected in the above tests, then most doctors will recommend a cystoscopy.
Step 3: If an abnormal area (or areas) is seen during a cystoscopy, then Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumour (TURBT), also known as just a transurethral resection (TUR) is done.
Step 4: The test results are then sent to the lab and their invasiveness and grade is detected. If the cancer is detected, then the imaging tests such as X-ray, MRI, CT scan, etc. are done to analyse the size and extent of the spread of the cancer.
Step 5: If imaging tests suggest that the cancer has spread outside the bladder, a biopsy might be needed to be sure.
TREATMENTS FOR BLADDER CANCER
Four major types of treatment for patients with bladder cancer include:
- Intravesical chemotherapy or immunotherapy for superficial cancers • Radiation Therapy
Sometimes, a combination of these treatments may be used.
Need to consult specialists/Doctors for bladder cancer in Delhi NCR?
In case of any signs and/or symptoms, one should immediately contact the oncosurgeon, gynaecologist or nearby doctors or physician immediately. In case of any suspicion, the doctors will immediately run various tests and diagnostic procedures which will help the doctor to decide what kind of treatment is best and plan the patient’s prognosis.
The treatments and diagnostic procedures are readily available in Ghaziabad and Delhi NCR at Yashoda Superspeciality Hospital & Cancer Institute, Sanjay Nagar, Ghaziabad. We have a team of preeminent specialists and cutting-edge technology which are best in Delhi NCR for the treatment of bladder cancer. Some specialists at the hospital include:
Dr. Vaibhav Saxena – He is a very renowned and highly experienced urologist with experience of doing more than 10,000 urological procedures including advanced laparoscopic procedures & cancer surgery.
Dr. Pradeep Prakash is a dedicated urologist having more than 13 years of experience in medical field (6 years as superspecialist). He has the rare achievement of having obtained all his medical education from the reputed AIIMS, New Delhi, right from MBBS till M. Ch in Urology.