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Cancer that forms in tissues of the bladder (the organ that stores urine). Most bladder cancers are transitional cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in cells that normally make up the inner lining of the bladder). Other types include squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells) and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). The cells that form squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma develop in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation.
The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower part of the abdomen. It is shaped like a small balloon and has a muscular wall that allows it to get larger or smaller. The bladder stores urine until it is passed out of the body. Urine is the liquid waste that is made by the kidneys when they clean the blood. The urine passes from the two kidneys into the bladder through two tubes called ureters. When the bladder is emptied during urination, the urine goes from the bladder to the outside of the body through another tube called the urethra.
Anatomy of the male urinary system (above) and female urinary system (below) showing the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Urine is made in the renal tubules and collects in the renal pelvis of each kidney. The urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the bladder. The urine is stored in the bladder until it leaves the body through the urethra.
There are three types of bladder cancer that begin in cells in the lining of the bladder. These cancers are named for the type of cells that become malignant (cancerous):
Cancer that is confined to the lining of the bladder is called superficial bladder cancer. Cancer that begins in the transitional cells may spread through the lining of the bladder and invade the muscle wall of the bladder or spread to nearby organs and lymph nodes; this is called invasive bladder cancer.
Squamous cells are flat cells that make up the moist, skin like, tissues lining the body organs. About 5 out of every 100 (5%) bladder cancers in the UK are squamous cell cancers. They are more common in developing countries where a worm infection called bilharzia or schistosomiasis is widespread.Most squamous cell carcinomas produce no symptoms until they reach an advanced stage. Patients are typically in their sixth or seventh decades when the disease manifests, although patients with obstructive and irritative symptoms are usually diagnosed earlier.The most common symptom is gross hematuria. Bacteriuria occurs in about 50% of patients. Less commonly, patients may experience nocturia, dysuria, frequency, and pain.Radical surgery appears to result in an improved survival rate as compared to radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy, whereas neoadjuvant radiation improves the outcome in locally advanced tumours.
This is a very rare type of bladder cancer. Between 1 and 2 out of every 100 people diagnosed with bladder cancer have this type (1 to 2%). It is a cancer that develops from the cells in the lining of the bladder that produce mucus. All the moist, skin like, tissues lining the body have some gland cells that produce mucus.There are 3 type of adenocarcinoma that affect the bladder:
A type of bladder cancer, making up less than 1% of all bladder cancers. The urachus is a structure normally only present during development in the womb that connects the bellybutton and the bladder. This connection normally disappears before birth, but in some people remains. Urachal cancers are usually diagnosed in adults in their 50's and 60's and may develop at the dome or anterior wall of the bladder, along the midline of the body (including the belly button), and between the pubis symphasis and the bladder.Most urachal cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that develop from gland cells). Others may be sarcomas (which develop from connective tissue - such as leiomyosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, and malignant fibrous histiocytoma), small cell carcinomas, transitional cell cancer, and mixed neoplasias. Most individuals with urachal cancer have symptoms of with hematuria (blood in urine). Other symptoms may include abdominal pain, a palpable abdominal mass, mucinuria, and bacteriuria. Treatment usually involved surgery to remove the cancer.
Smoking can affect the risk of bladder cancer. Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be at risk for bladder cancer. Risk factors for bladder cancer include:
These and other symptoms may be caused by bladder cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following problems:
The following tests and procedures may be used:
Cystoscopy. A cystoscope (a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing) is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. Fluid is used to fill the bladder. The doctor looks at an image of the inner wall of the bladder on a computer monitor.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the following:
For more information on Bladder Cancer click here
This link is to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer website in the United States. There may be references to drugs and clinical trials that are not available here in Australia.
For information courtesy of Cancer Australia, click here
Information has also been sourced from cancerresearchuk.org, actionbladdercanceruk.org, emedicine.medscape.com and ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Page last updated: 04/05/2020