The bladder stores urine and enables you to have control over your urination. The bladder has a lining made of layers of muscle in order to expand and accommodate stored urine. It has a capacity of up to 600ml. The bladder is in the form of a pear-shaped sac in the pelvis, located above and behind the pubic bone. During urination, the muscles in the bladder contract and push the urine out, through to sphincters into the urethra which expels the urine out of the body.
Bladder Cancer generally originates in the innermost muscle lining of the bladder or the urothelium. Cancer is the growth and multiplication of abnormal cells in the body. These cells as they multiply form masses known as tumours. Over time, cancer may grow into the other layers in the bladder, or even through the layers. In this stage, it is more difficult to treat cancer. As the disease progresses, cancer will grow into nearby structures. Cancer generally attacks the lymph nodes.
There are different types of cancers that affect the bladder, including urothelial carcinoma, papillary carcinomas, and flat carcinomas. The cancers are usually classified as invasive and non-invasive. Non-invasive cancers are still contained within the inner layer of the bladder, while invasive bladder cancer has spread to other layers of the bladder and is more difficult to treat.
SYMPTOMS OF BLADDER CANCER
• Frequent need to urinate
• Burning during urination
• Weak urine stream
• Inability to urinate
• Lower back pain
• Loss of appetite and weight loss
• Swollen feet
• Bone pain
Non-invasive cancer treatment depends upon the risk of cancer returning or spreading further into the bladder. This is calculated after considering the number of tumours, their size, the earlier occurrence of cancer, and the cancer grade.
The treatment of invasive bladder cancer depends on the spread of cancer. The treatment aim is to cure or control the disease. Your options are a cystectomy where the bladder is removed or radiotherapy. Bladder Cancer is a serious and painful condition with a significant impact on a patient's life. The earlier it is detected and treated, the better.