Bladder cancer | types, risk factors, symptoms and treatment

 What is the bladder?

The bladder is the hollow organ within the lower pelvis. Urine storage is its primary function. The kidneys produce urine, a liquid waste product that is then carried to the bladder by tubes referred to as ureters. When you urinate, the muscles in the bladder's walls contract, forcing urine through a tube known as the urethra to leave the body.

What is bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer develops when the lining of the bladder contains healthy cells called urothelial cells, which typically alter and expand uncontrollably to form a mass known as a tumor. The renal pelvis, ureters, and urethra are all lined with urothelial cells. Another form of urothelial cancer, known as upper tract urothelial cancer, is cancer that develops in the renal pelvis and ureters. A tumor may be benign or malignant. Cancer refers to the ability of a cancerous tumor to develop and metastasize to different body regions. If a tumor is benign, it can enlarge but won't spread. Bladder benign tumors are quite uncommon.
(image credit
 Male and female urinary systems' anatomical structures, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra, are shown in the left and right panels, respectively. The renal pelvis can be seen inside the left kidney. Urine and renal tubules are displayed in an inset. The uterus (left panel) and prostate (right panel) are also depicted (right panel). Each kidney's renal pelvis is where urine accumulates after being produced in the renal tubules. The ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Up until it exits the body through the urethra, the urine is held in the bladder.

Types of bladder cancer

The type of bladder cancer is diagnosed by the morphology of the tumor's cells. There are three primary forms of bladder cancer

Urothelial carcinoma

The cells that line the inside of the bladder develop urothelial carcinoma cancer. When your bladder is full, urothelial cells enlarge; when empty, they contract. The lining of the ureters and the urethra is made up of the same cells, and cancer can develop there as well.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Your bladder's interior is lined by squamous cells, which are small, flat cells. This bladder cancer creates about 5% of all bladder cancers and typically appears in persons who have experienced early symptoms of bladder inflammation or irritation.

Risk factors of bladder cancer

Several factors can affect your risk of bladder cancer, such as:
  • Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes may raise the risk of bladder cancer due to the buildup of dangerous chemicals in the urine.
  • Bladder cancer has been linked to specific industrial pollutants. Bladder cancer can be carried on by chemicals called aromatic amines, which are commonly utilized in the dye industry and also include benzidine and beta-naphthylamine.
  • With age, there is an increased probability of getting bladder cancer. More than 70% of patients with bladder cancer are about 65.
  • Cyclophosphamide chemotherapy treatment raises the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Bladder cancer risk may be increased by bladder stones and infections. People who are immobilized from the waist down, need to use urine catheters, have frequent urinary infections, and are immobilized from the pelvis down may be more likely to get bladder cancer.
  • Bladder cancer risk has been associated in some parts of the world with the presence of arsenic in drinking water.
  • Other parts of the urothelium, like the kidney, ureter, and urethra's lining, can develop cancer. Any of these cancers may make it more likely that this layer of cells may become another tumor.
  • Race, since white people are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as African Americans and Hispanics.

Symptoms of bladder cancer

Blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer and typically appears suddenly with no symptoms.
Fewer symptoms of bladder cancer are followed:
  • Having pain or burning while urinating.
  • Issues with bladder emptying.
  • Feeling back pain.
  • Having pelvic pain.
  • Being unable to urinate
  • Unexpected loss of weight

Bladder cancer treatment

Every bladder cancer patient is unique and requires individualized care. Your diagnosis' characteristics, your health in general, and other criteria are taken into consideration when your doctor selects the treatments for your treatment plan.


A cystoscope with a wire loop is used during surgery (transurethral resection) in order to remove any tumors. Burning the tumor's base or using a high-powered laser to harm or destroy the cells are two other methods of killing cancer cells.


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells, typically by preventing the growth, division, and production of new cancer cells.

A chemotherapy plan, or regimen, typically consists of a predetermined number of cycles administered over a predetermined amount of time. A patient may be given a single medication at a time or a mix of several medications on the same day.

Radiation therapy

Surgery could be replaced by radiation therapy. The use of chemotherapy, TURBT, and radiation therapy may be combined by medical professionals. Surgery to remove the bladder can be substituted with this therapy. Before choosing this course of treatment, healthcare professionals take into account variables such as tumor growth and tumor features.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy detects and treats certain genes, proteins, or growth-promoting processes in cancer cells. These therapies often cause less damage to healthy cells than chemotherapy or radiation because they target particular cell types or characteristics.

The biological characteristics of bladder tumors vary, thus doctors may advise testing to better understand alterations in the specific tumor's genes and proteins. This aids them in identifying potential treatments that may be limited due to the particular biology of the tumor.


Bladder cancer may not always be preventable because doctors don't yet know what causes it. Your chance of developing bladder cancer can be decreased by the following factors and habits:
  • avoiding smoking
  • avoiding additional cancer-causing chemicals
  • drinking a lot of water

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