Bladder Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Urinary bladder cancer is the most common type of cancer. Here are its symptoms, causes and treatment. Read on. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaUpdated at: Nov 05, 2021 09:00 IST
Bladder Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Urinary bladder is a pouch like hollow organ present in our abdominal cavity. Small tubular cells called nephrons filter the toxins from our blood, urine is then carried away by the ureter to this bladder. Urinary bladder stores the urine for the time being, until it passes through the urethra. Most cancers start to develop in the innermost lining of the bladder and it can sometimes even spread to muscles, and other body parts. 

Bladder cancers are highly treatable if it is diagnosed at early stages but it has a recurring tendency. People should follow proper follow up tests routine so that the disease is diagnosed at earliest. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Abhijit Kotabagi, Surgical Oncologist at Columbia Asia Hospitals, Palam Vihar, about the symptoms, causes and treatment for bladder cancer. 

Bladder cancer symptoms 

Symptoms of bladder cancer include pain in lower back, frequent urge to urinate, and painful urination. One might also see blood in their urine. All these symptoms are common to infections in urinary tract as well. Here are the main symptoms of bladder cancer

1. Frequent urination 

One of the common symptoms that you might experience is change in frequency of the urge to urinate. The bladder loses its effectiveness of holding urine for longer hours. 

2. Blood in urine 

Blood in urine is not always visible, but it is detected in urine tests. You also might experience slight change in color of urine if you pay attention to it. Urine starts to appear dark yellow- orange in case red blood cells are present in the urine. 

3. Painful urination 

Patients have also reported that they experience pain while urination. The pain is usually locally originated. Other symptoms include chronic back pain. 

Also read: 3 Natural Ways To Prevent Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer causes 

When there are mutation in the DNA of cells, it gives rise to urinary bladder cancer. It multiplies at a faster rate harming the surrounding tissues. These cells can also metasise to other parts of body. There are various risk factors associated with causing these mutations:

1. Smoking 

smoking bladder cancer

Smoking massively increases the risks of bladder cancer. The harmful chemicals that enter our body accumulate in our urine which is stored in bladder. These carcinogens can alter the DNA in the lining of uterus. 

2. History of cancer

If you suffered from cancer in past you become more prone to it's redevelopment. Even if anyone in your blood relation is suffering from cancers, your genes are hereditarily more prone to mutations.

3. Chronic bladder inflammation 

Prolonged parasitic infection known as schistosomiasis is linked to increased risks of bladder cancer. Chronic infections in epithelial layer develop a tendency to be malignant. 

Also read: Mahesh Manjrekar Loses 36 Kilos And Triumphs Urinary Bladder Cancer; Know The Early Signs Of This Cancer

4. Chemical exposure 

People working in factories which manufacture of dyes, rubber, leather, textiles and paint products are more prone to cancer, because they are in direct contact with harmful chemicals like Arsenic. People should take proper precautions while handling chemicals. 

Bladder cancer diagnosis and treatment 

If you have these symptoms for a while a doctor may prescribe a cystoscopy. A camera is inserted using small incisions to study the internal lining of organs. A doctor might also prescribe a biopsy, urine cytology and other imaging tests like CT scan. These tests are followed by a series of other tests like Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Positron emission tomography (PET). 

Its treatment mostly depends on the stage on which the cancer is detected. Initial stages can respond to biological therapy whereas some patients might need chemotherapy and surgery. In cases of removal of organs various reconstruction surgeries are performed to facilitate the passage of urine. Surgeries also have a lots of post surgical complications like incompetence and urine leakage. Cystectomy is the surgical removal of bladder, it might also affect your ability to have an erection. We should take prevention measures to protect ourselves from various harmful risk factors.