Bladder Cancer

This year, an estimated 80,470 adults (61,700 men and 18,770 women) will be diagnosed with bladder cancer. However, if the cancer is found early, chances of survival are very high. This is a reason why physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers urge patients to get regular checkups and report any signs and symptoms to their doctors immediately.

For patients with bladder cancer, the team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers takes a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. This includes working with medical and radiation oncologists supported by a team of advanced practice providers and nurses. The team creates individualized treatment plans using the highest standards of care, the latest technologies and, when necessary, clinical research options.

Bladder cancer occurs when a cancer cell begins to grow out-of-control in the lining of the bladder. Left undiagnosed and untreated, the abnormal cells may grow and spread to other areas of the body. The type of cell where cancer starts determines the type of bladder cancer that presents, along with the type of treatment will be most effective for individual patients. Three major types of bladder cancer include:

  • Transitional cell carcinoma – This bladder cancer occurs in the cells that line the inside of the bladder and is the most common type of bladder cancer diagnosed in the United States.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma – This bladder cancer appears in response to an infection or irritation that may become cancerous over time. This form of bladder cancer is rare in the United States, but is more prevalent where parasitic infection is common, which is among the reasons patients are asked about foreign travel when being diagnosed by their physicians.
  • Adenocarcinoma – This bladder cancer develops in mucus-secreting glands in the bladder and is also rarely seen in patients in the United States.

Bladder cancer signs and symptoms can vary. Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Blood in urine (hematuria) where urine may appear dark yellow, bright red or cola colored
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Back pain and/or pelvic pain.

Should your physician find indicators that bladder cancer diagnosis may be possible, they can refer you to the oncology team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

Bladder Cancer Screening

Patients referred to Comprehensive Cancer Centers will have additional screenings to determine the presence of abnormal or cancerous cells. There are various ways to screen for bladder cancer, and each method may be used alone or in combination with others. Screening include the following options

  • Cystoscopy – This test allows a physician to view the inside of the bladder through a small tube with a lens and light. The physician may also perform a biopsy at the time of this procedure.
  • Urine cytology – This is a procedure where a sample of your urine is analyzed under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
  • Urine culture – This test is conducted to find and identify any bacteria that may be causing an infection.
  • Image tests – These tests allow a physician to examine the structures of your bladder using a dye, which is injected into a vein before the procedure.

Once there is a confirmation of bladder cancer, medical oncologists may order additional tests to determine the extent, or stage of the cancer. Staging tests may include CT scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), bone scans and chest X-rays.

Bladder Cancer Treatment at Comprehensive Cancer

There are several treatment options available for patients with bladder cancer including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and clinical research. For a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive for bladder cancer, please click here.  To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.