page is designed to answer some of the questions you may
have about your illness and its treatment. It is important
to remember that your relationship with your doctor is the
foundation of your treatment. This booklet is meant to help
you understand urinary bladder cancer; it does not and should
not take the place of discussions between you and your doctor.
frequently does bladder cancer occur?
has been estimated that approximately 49,000 new cases of
bladder cancer are reported annually in the United States.
Bladder cancer occurs three times more frequently in men
than women and is more likely to occur in people who are
over 60 years of age.
causes bladder cancer?
are a number of risk factors that have been associated with
bladder cancer, including cigarette smoking and chronic
exposure to certain industrial chemicals and dyes.
are the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer?
frequently, the initial symptoms of bladder cancer are blood
in the urine, a burning sensation when urinating, or a feeling
of having to urinate often. It is important to note that
these symptoms can also be characteristic of a urinary tract
bladder and Its location
hollow, muscular organ, the bladder is part of the urinary
tract and is located in the lower abdomen. The bladder may
be seen as an upside down bottle with muscles in its neck
that keep urine from leaking out. These muscles relax when
Urine is formed in the kidneys and travels down to the bladder
through tubes called ureters: one enters the bladder on
the left, the other on the right. Depending upon the amount
of urine the bladder contains, it has the ability to expand
or contract in size.
The bladder acts as a holding tank for urine until it leaves
the body through another tube called the urethra. In women,
the urethra is a rather short tube that is located in front
of the vagina. In men, the urethra is a long tube that passes
first through the center of the prostate and then through
Are there different types of tumors in the bladder?
but the most frequently seen tumors are called superficial
transitional cell tumors that occur on the lining of the
There are two types of superficial transitional cell tumors:
TUMORS look like mushrooms with tiny stems that are
attached to the lining of the bladder wall.
CARCINOMA IN SITU (pronounced "in sigh-to")
are tumors that are flat and solid, without the telltale
stem of the papillary tumor. They appear to be growing
directly on the lining of the bladder wall.
a careful evaluation, your doctor will classify your tumor
and recommend the type of treatment that is appropriate
OF TRANSITIONAL CELL TUMORS
is bladder cancer diagnosed?
there is blood in the urine, the first step is to determine
whether it is caused by bladder cancer or another urinary
tract condition, such as an infection. In addition to a
physical examination, your doctor may want to perform a
number of tests.
of these, a urine culture, will determine whether or not
the bleeding could be the result of an infection. Depending
on the result of the urine culture, your doctor may order
one or more of the following tests:
INTRAVENOUS PYELOGRAM (IVP) is an x-ray of the urinary tract
that includes the bladder. A special dye is injected into
the arm and travels through the bloodstream to the urinary
tract where it shows up on the x-ray, highlighting the urinary
tract and bladder. The x-ray allows your doctor to see if
there are any abnormalities that might be causing the problem.
CYSTOSCOPY allows your doctor to exam the inside of the
bladder. First a thin, flexible tube with a light and lens
is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. Your doctor
can then look at the inner lining of the bladder and check
for any abnormal tissue. Suspicious looking tissue can be
removed in the hospital -- or in your doctor's office --
and examined more closely in the laboratory.
is bladder cancer treated?
doctor will make a decision about the best treatment for
your condition based on the type of tumor, its location,
and the stage of disease. Some of the treatments that your
physician may consider are:
RESECTION (also called TUR) is a procedure in which a thin
tube (resectoscope) is inserted through the urethra and
into the bladder to remove the tumor. TUR, which eliminates
the need for an external incision, is sometimes followed
by a special form of cancer treatment described below.
THERAPY is a treatment in which an anti-cancer medication
is placed directly into the bladder to eliminate your tumor(s)
or prevent them from recurring or invading the deeper layers
of your bladder wall. This treatment is most often used
for people who have a number of tumors, for tumors that
could not be removed during the TUR because of their location,
or for people who have carcinoma in situ.
can I expect after treatment?
treatment, your doctor will want you to come in for checkups
periodically to monitor your progress. During these visits
be sure to discuss with your doctor anything that you are
unsure about, such as
you can get back to your normal routine
you can resume sexual activity
other activities are okay
foods you may eat or should avoid
or not you should climb stairs
other concerns that you may have.
IF YOU SMOKE, IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO QUIT. YOUR DOCTOR
MAY OFFER SUGGESTIONS TO HELP YOU.
you are healing, it is important to listen to your body
and to stop any activity when you feel tired.
too, that there is no such thing as a "silly question"
when it comes to your health. Your doctor will be more than
happy to answer any questions you have about your condition,
treatment and recovery.