Bladder Cancer

 

This is a common cancer affecting around 10,000 people every year in UK and is more common in men than women. The cancer commonly develops from the urothelium (lining of the bladder).

 

 

Causes of bladder cancer

The exact cause of bladder cancer is unclear, however there are certain factors that increase the risks of developing bladder cancer including:

 

  • Age: this is a disease of older people and very rarely seen in people younger than 40 years.

 

  • Ethnicity: the cancer is more common in white than black people.

 

  • Smoking: this is a major factor with around a third of the bladder cancer cases are related to smoking.

 

  • Chemicals: exposure to certain chemicals such as in rubber, dye, leather, textiles, printing and other industries can increase the risk of bladder cancer.

 

  • Past history of radiotherapy (to the Bladder area) or certain chemotherapy treatment.

 

  • Infection: repeated urinary tract infections or infection with Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis).

 

  • Untreated bladder stones

 

 

What are the possible symptoms of bladder cancer?

  • Blood in the urine (haematuria) is the most common symptom.

 

  • Other symptoms:

    • Urinary symptoms including pain when passing urine, needing to pass urine more often or with more urgency.

    • Pain in the bladder area.

    • Feeling tired or unexplained weight loss.

 

 

Diagnosis of bladder cancer

After careful medical history taking and physical examination, the following tests will be carried out:

 

  • Urine test.

  • Flexible cystoscopy.

  • Ultrasound or CT scan.

  • Other scans might be carried out depending on individual circumstances.

 

 

Stages of bladder cancer

Bladder cancer  stage determines how far the cancer has spread. The most widely used staging system is the TNM system:

 

T: refers to the size of the Tumour.

N: refers to if the regional Lymph Nodes are involved.

M: refers to if the cancer has Metastasised (spread outside the pelvis).

 

Based on the T stages, bladder cancer can be classified into:

 

Non-muscle invasive cancer:

  • Tis (or cis) - this is also referred to as flat tumour. Cancer cells only present in the inside layer of the lining of the bladder.

  • Ta - this is a mushroom-like tumour or a polyp. The cancer is present in the inside layer of the lining of the bladder.

  • T1 - the cancer has started growing into the connective tissue underneath the lining of the bladder.

     

Muscle-invasive cancer:

  • T2 - the cancer has spread to the muscle of the bladder wall underneath the connective tissue.

  • T3 - the cancer has spread into the fat layer surrounding the bladder.

  • T4 - the cancer has invaded any of the surrounding areas including the prostate (in men), the womb or vagina (in women) and pelvic or abdominal wall.

 

The N stages of bladder cancer:

  • N0 - no cancer cells in the lymph nodes.

  • N1 - cancer cells spread into one lymph node in the pelvis.

  • N2 - cancer cells spread into a number of lymph nodes in the pelvis.

  • N3 - cancer cells spread into lymph nodes just outside the pelvis.

 

The M stages of bladder cancer:

  • M0 - the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.

  • M1 - the cancer has spread into other body parts like lungs, bones or liver.

 

 

Grades of bladder cancer

The grade of the cancer refers to the appearance of the cancer cells under the microscope, reflecting the behaviour of the cancer.

 

Bladder cancer is graded into grades 1, 2 or 3. In the lowest grade 1 cancer, the cells grow slowly and the cancer is unlikely to spread. On the contrary, in the highest grade 3 cancer, the cells grow rapidly and the cancer is likely to spread.

 

 

Treatment of bladder cancer

There are various treatment options to treat bladder cancer depending on your individual circumstances in terms of staging and grading of the cancer, general well being, risk of complications and your personal preferences.

 

Treatment options include:

 

 

 

  • Radiotherapy.

 

  • Chemotherapy.

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Private Secretary Contact

Debbie Coleman

KIMS Hospital

Newnham Court Way

Maidstone

Kent

ME14 5FT

Tel: 01622 538173

email: debbie.coleman@kims.org.uk

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