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Bladder Cancer


Urine is stored in the bladder - an elastic, small organ in the lower abdomen. Bladder cancer develops when cancerous cells form in the organ’s tissues. Bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer.
 

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Risk Factors and Symptoms


In addition to family history of bladder cancer, risk factors for developing the condition include:
  • age – people age 55 and older are more prone to bladder cancer
  • gender - men are more prone to developing bladder cancer than women
  • race – whites have a higher rate of developing bladder cancer than other ethnicities
  • smoking
  • long-term use of chemotherapy
  • increased exposure to pelvic radiation
  • exposure to certain chemicals including diesel fumes, hair dyes, rubber, paint products
Symptoms of bladder cancer can include:
  • blood in the urine
  • urgent need to empty your bladder
  • frequent urination
  • sensation of needing to urinate without any urine production
  • painful urination
  • needing to bear down to empty the bladder
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Diagnostic Tests

To diagnose bladder cancer your primary care doctor or urologist will review your personal and family medical history, discuss your symptoms, perform a physical exam and then possibly order one or more of the following tests:
  • urine test - to check for blood, cancer cells and presence for other abnormalities
  • cystoscopic exam - this exam can be done in your doctor's office. You will change into a hospital gown and your doctor may use a local anesthesia before inserting a cystoscope – a small lighted tube – to look directly into your bladder. Your doctor may remove a small tissue sample during the exam and send the sample to a lab where a pathologist will examine the tissue for cancer cells. You will be able to resume normal daily activities following the exam.

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Treatment Options


If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer your prescribed treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer (Stage O to Stage 4) and other personal medical factors. Standard treatment options for bladder cancer include:
  • surgery – depending on the extent of your bladder cancer your oncologist may recommend bladder surgery.
  • radiation – during radiation therapy you will either have a sealed, radioactive substance inserted into or near your cancerous tumor or your cancerous organ area will be subjected to regular doses of high-energy x-rays.
  • chemotherapy – intravenously or orally delivered chemical to destroy the cancer cells
  • biologic therapy – a liquid solution containing weakened bacteria is intravenously delivered to your urethra to help your body’s immune system fight the cancerous cells in your bladder.
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