Your bladder is a balloon-shaped organ responsible for storing urine. Cancer of the bladder often beings with cells that line the inside of the bladder. Bladder cancer can occur at any age, but it typically affects older adults.
When diagnosed in an early stage, bladder cancer is highly treatable, yet bladder cancer is prone to reoccur. A bladder cancer survivor will need to undergo follow-up tests to check for the reappearance of cancer. You doctor will evaluate your individual case, but will most likely recommend a screening of the inside of your urethra and bladder every three to six months for the first five years after the occurrence of bladder cancer. At that point, it is still recommended that you undergo an annual cystoscopy.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
- Blood in the urine
- Darker than normal urine
- Pain when urinating
- Frequent need to urinate
- Back pain
- Abdominal Pain
Stages of Bladder Cancer
During stage one, the cancer remains in the lining of the bladder and has not progressed inside the muscular wall of the bladder. Early detection during stage one gives a patient the best chance of survival.
During stage two, your cancer has invaded the bladder wall, yet it has not spread outside the bladder and is still confined.
During stage three, cancer cells have spread outside the bladder to surrounding tissue. In men, this often means spreading to the prostate, and, in women, it can mean spreading to the uterus or vagina.
During stage four, cancer cells have spread far beyond the bladder walls and have invaded the lymph nodes and other vital organs, such as the liver, the lungs, etc.
- Surgical procedures
- Biological therapy
- Immunotherapy drugs
- Radiation therapy
Your treatment options will be determined on an individual basis, depending on what stage your cancer is in when it is detected. Procedures available to you may also be determined by other factors, such as your overall health.