Mahesh Memorial Trust

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the bladder. The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower part of the abdomen, which is shaped like a small balloon and stores urine.
Blood in the urine (urine that looks bright red or rusty).
Pain during urination, passing urine often, or feeling the need to urinate often.
A urine sample may be sent to a laboratory for tests to see if any cancer cells are present.
An internal examination to feel for lumps in the vagina and/or rectum.
A special x-ray called an intravenous pyelogram (IVP) for which a special dye containing iodine is given through a needle inserted into a vein.
A doctor may also look directly into the bladder through the urethra with a thin-lighted tube called a cystoscope.
If tissue that is not normal is found, the doctor will do a biopsy by cutting out a small piece of this tissue and looking at it under the microscope to see if there are any cancer cells.
Other special x-rays may also be done to help diagnose cancer of the bladder.
Staging in Bladder Cancer
Stage 0 or carcinoma in situ - Early cancer. The cancer is found only on the inner lining of the bladder. After the cancer is taken out, no swelling or lumps are felt during an internal examination.
Stage I - Cancer cells have spread a little deeper into the inner lining of the bladder but have not spread to the muscular wall of the bladder.
Stage II - Cancer cells have spread to the inside lining of the muscles lining the bladder.
Stage III - Cancer cells have spread throughout the muscular wall of the bladder, to the layer of tissue surrounding the bladder and/or to the nearby reproductive organs. A doctor may feel for swelling or lumps after a patient has had an operation to take out the cancer.
Stage IV - Cancer cells have spread to the wall of the abdomen or pelvis or to the lymph nodes in the area. (Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped structures that are found throughout the body; they produce and store infection-fighting cells.) The cancer may have also spread to other parts of the body far away from the bladder.
Recurrent - Recurrent disease means that the cancer has come back (recurred) after it has been treated. It may come back in the original place or in another part of the body.
Side Effects of the Treatment
Presence of blood in the urine, discomfort while passing urine and frequent urination after surgery.
Men who have had their bladder, prostate and seminal vesicles removed experience dry orgasms and cannot produce semen or father children. Women likewise can never become mothers as their uteri have been removed during radical surgery.
Extreme fatigue
Radiation dermatitis - Skin covering the radiated area becomes red, dry, itchy, and may show signs of scaling off. This will slowly settle down after radiation ceases, but there may be a permanent 'bronzing' of the skin.
Impotence may develop in patients who are subjected to external radiation. This is usually temporary. Vaginal dryness is also known to occur in women, thus sexual intercourse during radiation therapy is discouraged.
Radiation also may cause nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, urinary discomfort and fall in the white blood cells.
Skin rashes, loss of hair, tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes and hearing loss.
BCG intravesical therapy may cause low grade fever.
Risk Factors
People above the age of 55 years
Occupations in rubber, chemical and leather industries, dye and metal industries, truck drivers, hair dressers, mechanics, printers, painters and textile workers pose a higher risk for bladder cancer due to exposure to cancer causing agents at the workplace.