In bladder cancer, cancer cells invade the bladder harmful and destroy normal cells And the bladder can no longer function properly.
The bladder is a hollow organ that stores urine as it is filtered by the kidneys. Its flexible wall consisting of three layers of fabric, allows it to stretch and contract as needed. Most bladder cancers (90%) are implanted in the epithelial lining, the deepest layer of the wall.
The bladder cancer is the 6th most common cancer in Canada. Its incidence is two to three times higher in men than in women, and two times higher among Caucasians than among those original African. In North America, it ranks fourth in men and the ninth in women, in terms of frequency.
Thanks to earlier diagnosis and improved treatment, mortality rates for this disease have declined significantly over the past 25 years.
It is unclear the exact cause of this cancer, but some risk factors have been established, including:
- Smoking: Smokers face a risk twice as high for bladder cancer compared to non-smokers ;
- exposure to chemicals: certain chemicals, for example those used by hairdressers, painters, textile workers and workers in industries dyes, leather and rubber can concentrate in the urine, hence the risk of cancer ;
- race: the risk is twice as high among white people compared to people of African descent ; People of Asian origin are less likely ;
- gender: men are at risk two to three times higher than women ;
- Age: Most cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in people over 40 years ;
- certain drugs: Certain medications used in chemotherapy, such as cyclophosphamide * (often used in the treatment of breast cancer and lymphoma), can significantly increase the risk of bladder cancer later ;
- history of radiation therapy in the pelvic region ;
- of personal or family history of bladder cancer.
Symptoms and Complications:
It is easy to confuse the symptoms of bladder cancer with those of a bladder infection or a urinary tract infection, kidney stones or prostate problems. These symptoms are:
- the presence of blood in the urine (most common) ;
- pain or burning sensation when urinating ;
- an urgent need to urinate ;
- the impression of not emptying your bladder completely after urinating ;
- pain in lower back.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor to determine the cause.
It is important to diagnose bladder cancer early. This increases the chances of successful treatment. Complications of bladder cancer stem more from the treatment (including surgery) that the cancer itself. However, if the cancer remained untreated and evolved, it would eventually lead to complications even more important. Cancer that is no longer limited to the bladder is more difficult to treat.
Complications of surgical treatment depend on the type of operation performed. If it is a partial cystectomy, the bladder may still retain urine, but its volume has diminished considerably. The person must urinate more frequently. Furthermore, as cancer can recur, it is necessary to have regular medical follow in order to detect the presence of cancer cells as soon as possible.
After radical cystectomy (removal of the entire bladder), the person has no bladder , So you have another way to store and eliminate urine. In some cases, you can create a new bladder using a small section of intestinal tissue. This new bladder should be emptied regularly and manually, using a tube or a catheter (a thin flexible tube inserted into the body which allows the introduction or withdrawal of liquid).
In other cases, it may be necessary to install a urostomy The surgeon then connects the ureters (tubes that help drain the urine from the kidneys to the bladder) to the abdominal wall and creates a stoma (opening). A plastic bag attached to the outside of the stoma and collect urine replaces the bladder. This bag must be emptied regularly.
Among other complications of bladder cancer, it should be mentioned infertility in women (in case of removal of the uterus), menopause (if ovaries removed) and, perhaps, some sexual dysfunction, if the vagina has been shrunk or shortcut.
Men can also experience infertility and sexual dysfunction, if the prostate and seminal vesicles (sperm-producing glands) were removed.