The bladder is a hollow, balloon-like organ that collects urine from your kidneys through tubes known as the ureters. This stored urine is emptied through the urethra when you urinate.
Why be concerned with bladder cancer?
In the United States, approximately 55,000 new cases of bladder cancer are reported each year. For patients diagnosed and treated early in the progression of the disease, the outlook is very good.
Are there any risk factors for bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer often is associated with cigarette smoking and exposure to certain industrial chemicals found in dye, rubber, leather, textile, paint or print. The disease occurs more often in people over the age of 60.
Are there warning signs?
Blood in the urine is usually the first symptom. The urine may look bright red or rust colored and the degree of bleeding may vary. Frequent urination, painful urination and a constant urge to urinate are also symptoms of bladder cancer.
How is bladder cancer treated?
Treatment is based on the type and stage of your cancer, your age, and your general physical and emotional health. Bladder cancer can be treated with surgery, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Surgery may involve either a minimally invasive procedure known as a transurethral resection of the bladder that removes superficial tumors or a cystectomy with removal of a portion or the entire bladder and its surrounding organs. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) an immunotherapy attracts the normal cells of the immune system to the bladder where the immune cells then destroy bladder cancer cells. Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses strong drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may include one drug or a combination of drugs.