Munson Health
 
Bladder Cancer

Back to Document

by Calvagna M
 

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of developing bladder cancer include:
  • Smoking
  • Increased age: The majority of people with bladder cancer are between 65 and 85 years old.
  • Occupation due to exposure to certain substances:
    • Rubber, leather, and textile workers
    • Painters
    • Hairdressers
    • Machinists
    • Printers
    • Truck drivers
    • Petroleum industry workers
  • Race: White
  • Sex: male
  • Genetics
  • Chronic bladder inflammation or infection such as schistosomiasis, an infection caused by a parasitic worm
  • Personal or family history of bladder cancer
  • Chemotherapeutic drugs: cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide
  • The use of pioglitazone, an anti-diabetic agent
  • Exposure to arsenic
  • Radiation treatment of the pelvis
  • Bladder birth defects
  • Chemicals such as nitrosamines and benzidine
  • Urinary stones for many years
  • In-dwelling catheter for many years
  • Bladder diverticuli: an area of weakness in the bladder wall through which some of the lining of the bladder is forced out
  • Metastasis from another cancer
 

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will feel the abdomen and pelvis for abnormalities. The physical exam may include a rectal or vaginal exam.
Staging tests are done after bladder cancer is found. These tests find out if the cancer has spread and, if so, to what parts of the body. Treatments for bladder cancer depend on the stage of the cancer. The stages of bladder cancer are:
  • Stage 0: cancer cells are found only on the surface of the inner lining of the bladder.
  • Stage 1: cancer cells are found deep in the inner lining of the bladder; no lymph nodes are involved.
  • Stage 2: cancer cells have spread to the muscle of the bladder; no lymph nodes are involved.
  • Stage 3: cancer cells have spread through the muscular wall of the bladder to the layer of tissue surrounding the bladder OR possibly to the reproductive organs including the prostate glands; no lymph nodes are involved.
  • Stage 4: cancer cells extending outside the bladder to the wall of the abdomen or to the wall of the pelvis without lymph node involvement OR have spread to one or more lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
 

Treatment

Treatment options include:

Surgery

Surgery involves removing cancerous cells and nearby tissue. Types of surgery to treat bladder cancer include transurethral resection and cystectomy.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy is the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may be:
  • External radiation therapy—Radiation is directed at the tumor from a source outside the body.
  • Internal radiation therapy—Radioactive materials are placed near the cancer cells in the bladder through the urethra or through an incision in the abdomen.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given in many forms, including pill, injection, or via a catheter. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body killing mostly cancer cells, but also some healthy cells. For bladder cancer, chemotherapy is often given directly into the bladder. This is called intravesical chemotherapy.

Biologic Therapy (Immunotherapy)

Biologic therapy is the use of the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or in a laboratory are given directly into the bladder to help boost, direct, or restore the body’s defenses against the cancer. This type of therapy is used only for superficial low-grade cancers that have been resected transurethrally.
 

Prevention

The following steps can reduce your risk of getting bladder cancer:
  • Don't smoke or use tobacco products. If you do, quit.
  • Avoid or minimize occupational exposure to certain chemicals; follow good work safety practices.
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid excess intake of high fat or high cholesterol.
 

RESOURCES

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

National Cancer Institute
http://www.cancer.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

BC Cancer Agency
http://www.bccancer.bc.ca

Canadian Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.ca

 

References


Bladder cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/bladdercancer. Accessed June 5, 2013.


Bladder cancer. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=100. Updated March 2013. Accessed June 5, 2013.


Torpy JM. Bladder cancer. JAMA. 2005;293(7):890. Available at: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/293/7/890. Accessed November 15, 2012.


What you need to know about bladder cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/bladder. Updated August 30, 2010. Accessed June 5, 2013.

 

Revision Information