May is the Bladder cancer awareness month!
What is bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the world.
Cancer occurs when cells in the bladder start to grow out of control. Bladder cancer most often begins in the urothelial cells that line the inside of your bladder. Most tumors develop on the inner layer of the bladder. Some can grow into deeper bladder layers. As cancer grows through these layers into the muscle wall, it becomes harder to treat.
Three types of bladder cancer may form, and each type of tumor can be present in one or more areas of the bladder, and more than one type can be present at the same time: Papillary tumors, Sessile tumors and Carcinoma in situ (CIS).
Signs and symptoms
The most common clinical sign of bladder cancer is painless gross hematuria, blood in the urine that can easily be seen. However, blood in the urine does not necessarily mean a diagnosis of bladder cancer. Infections, kidney stones as well as aspirin and other blood-thinning medications may cause bleeding.
Irritation when urinating, urgency, frequency and a constant need to urinate may be symptoms a bladder cancer patient initially experiences. Oftentimes, though, these are merely symptoms of a urinary tract infection and antibiotics become the first line of treatment. To make the necessary distinction between an infection and something more serious, it is critical that a urinalysis and/or culture are done to detect any bacteria in the urine. If the culture is negative for bacteria, patients should be referred to a urologist for further testing.