About the disease
Bladder cancer originates in the bladder, which is located in the pelvis and is responsible for storing urine. Malignant cells can start to grow inside the bladder as a result of parasitic infection, smoking and exposure to harmful chemicals. People who smoke are in the risk group because the toxins acquired through smoking tend to accumulate in the bladder and cause irritation, which can later turn into cancer. There are invasive and non-invasive types of this cancer. An invasive type is more difficult to treat because it can spread to other parts of the urinary tract and even further. A non-invasive type is usually located only on the inner wall of the bladder. If not treated in time, a non-invasive type can turn into an invasive one.
According to Cancer Research UK, more than 53% of bladder cancer deaths occur after the age of 80. Over the last ten years, mortality rates have tended to decrease by 9% in men and 7% in women. The mortality rate is also expected to fall by 14% by 2035, which is good news. Bladder cancer is three to four times more common in men than in women. It is also more predominant in Caucasians than other races.
- Pain in pelvis and back
- Blood in urine
- Difficulty urinating
- Frequent need to urinate
- A biopsy is an effective diagnostic method, since it allows doctors to study bladder cells under the microscope and determine what stage the cancer has progressed to. A biopsy is performed with a special tool that can also be used for the resection of a small tumor.
- A urine test may reveal a urine inflammation, which can be caused by bladder cancer. Procedures such as urine cytology allow doctors to study a patient’s urine under a microscope.
- A cystoscopy is a technique that uses a special device, called a cystoscope, which is inserted into the urethra under local anesthetic. This device has a special lens, which shows the inside of the bladder and can detect a tumor.
- Partial or total resection with neourethra formation is a type of surgery, during which a tumor is partially or totally resected, depending on the stage of the disease’s progression. After this procedure, a surgeon grafts tissue to form a new urethra.
- Radical cystectomy with lymphadenectomy is the surgical removal of the bladder and the lymph nodes located close to it. In some cases, a surgeon will need to remove the prostate in men and the urethra in women if cancer has also progressed to those organs.
- Radical cystectomy with bladder reconstruction also aims to remove the bladder, but during this procedure the surgeon will also construct a neobladder from the section of small intestines, which are shaped into the form of a bladder. After this, the neobladder is connected to the ureters, which are in turn connected to the kidneys. This way, urinary function is restored.
Overall, it may take some time for you to recover after these types of treatment, but they are worth it if you want to fully recover and lead a normal lifestyle.