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Bladder cancer occurs when cancer cells begin to grow and spread, forming a tumor in the bladder. Finding early evidence of bladder cancer before it spreads can improve the chances of effectively treating it.
Bladder Cancer Diagnosis at Inspira
Early and effective screening is vital to effective bladder cancer diagnoses. People who have previously been diagnosed with bladder cancer, people with certain birth defects affecting the bladder, and people exposed to certain chemicals at work are at higher risk of contracting the disease and should consider getting screened on a recurring basis.
In addition to a physical exam, your physician will conduct a urinalysis to determine if there is blood present in your urine (hematuria). Your doctor may also perform a cystoscopy. Using a thin, lighted tool called a cystoscope, your doctor will gain access to your bladder through the urethra. If bladder cancer is diagnosed at this stage, other tests will likely follow, including chest X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, bone scans and/or blood tests.
Types of Bladder Cancer
The three primary types of bladder cancer are:
- Urothelial carcinoma: Urothelial carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer, accounting for nearly 90 percent of all bladder cancer cases. This form of cancer begins in the urothelial cells that live in the urinary tract.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: Squamous cells grow in the lining of the bladder and, over time, can become cancerous. This type affects 4 percent of all bladder cancer patients.
- Adenocarcinoma: Developing from glandular cells, adenocarcinoma accounts for 2 percent of all bladder cancers.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
Each individual may experience symptoms differently; however, these are the most common symptoms associated with bladder cancer:
- Blood in the urine
- Painful urination
- Frequently feeling the need to urinate without results
- Frequent urination
- Pelvic or flank pain
Our Approach to Bladder Cancer
Depending on the stage and severity, oncologists can treat bladder cancer using a few different methods. If possible, your cancer team may remove the tumor or cancerous tissue with surgery. When surgery isn’t possible, radiation therapy is often sought as a primary treatment to destroy cancer cells. Radiation may also be used after surgery to lower the chance of recurrence.
For tumors that have a higher risk of progressing or recurring, treatment with medication/chemotherapy in the bladder (intravesical chemotherapy) is a common option. If cancer cells have spread throughout the body, a more holistic form of systemic chemotherapy will be used. For some patients a chosen option is immunotherapy, using your body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells in the bladder or elsewhere in the body. Whatever the chosen course of treatment between the care team and patient, Inspira is there with comprehensive support.
Inspira Cancer Specialists
If you’d like more information about your or a loved one’s cancer care, or to receive a second opinion about a diagnosis, our team is here to help.