is the hollow, muscular organ that lies in the pelvic region. It looks like an upside down
pyramid. The bladder stores the urine that is produced in the kidneys.
What to look for
Bladder cancer may not have
symptoms in the beginning, however, later on, symptoms may include:
blood in the urine.
frequent urinary tract
infections, painful urination, and a need to urinate often.
weight or appetite loss.
abdominal or back pain, fever,
The bladder is lined with
specialised cells, and when it is irritated, extra layers of these cells develop. This
process may increase the chance of a cell turning cancerous.
Malignant tumours begin as
small lumps on the inside of the bladder, the cancer then spreads by going deeper into
bladder fibre and the surrounding tissue. If left untreated the cancer will eventually
invade the bloodstream and lymphatic system.
Like all cancers, the earlier
it is detected the more effective the treatment will be. Sometimes bladder tumours recur,
however, prompt detection and treatment means they can be stopped while they are still
Cancer is more likely to
occur if the bladder has been chronically irritated. People with inborn disorders of the
bladder, chronic bladder infections, or persistent cystitis are more susceptible as well
as people who have benign bladder tumours.
The is a strong link with
bladder cancer and carcinogens (cancer-causing substances). Such as smokers, painters,
truckers, leatherworkers, machinists and metalworkers, rubber and textile workers, and
people exposed to industrial dyes. It has been reported that consumption of nitrates in
smoked and cured meats such as hams, may also be associated with bladder cancer, as may
consumption of caffeine and saccharin.
Treatments for cancer in
general can be investigated more in the entry on cancer. There are a number of
alternative therapies that may ease the pain of the disease and the side effects of
conventional treatment but at this point none have been scientifically proven to cure
If detected early,
superficial malignancies can usually be treated successfully. Certain bladder cancers may
require the bladder to be removed. This will need to be investigated with your doctor.
After surgery, a combination
of radiation and chemotherapy may be required to stop the cancer recurring. It is
advisable for bladder cancer patients to have check ups regularly as these tumours may
recur. If the cancer has spread surgery will not usually help. Chemotherapy would be the
Research suggests that
bladder cancer is less likely among people with adequate vitamin B6,
carotene, and selenium in their diets.
To prevent any cancer it is
strongly advisable to avoid any possible carcinogens.
Don't smoke and avoid
frequenting places with lots of smokers to lessen the likelihood of ingesting smoke.
Avoid smoked or cured meats
Try to limit processed food
intake to only occasionally.
If you work around
carcinogenic chemicals, follow safety guidelines to avoid undue exposure.
Arrange regular screenings
with your doctor to ensure early detection if you feel there is a chance you may be a
candidate for this disease.
When to seek further