What Causes Bladder Cancer
Healthcare providers and researchers dont know exactly why certain bladder cells mutate and become cancerous cells. Theyve identified many different risk factors that may increase your chance of developing bladder cancer, including:
- Cigarette smoke: Smoking cigarettes more than doubles your risk of developing bladder cancer. Smoking pipes and cigars and being exposed to second-hand smoke may also increase your risk.
- Radiation exposure: Radiation therapy to treat cancer may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Chemotherapy: Certain chemotherapy drugs may increase your risk.
- Exposure to certain chemicals: Studies show that people who work with certain chemicals used in dyes, rubber, leather, paint, some textiles and hairdressing supplies may have an increased risk.
- Frequent bladder infections: People who have frequent bladder infections, bladder stones or other urinary tract infections may be at an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma.
- Chronic catheter use: People who have a chronic need for a catheter in their bladder may be at risk for squamous cell carcinoma.
How Is Bladder Cancer Radiation Therapy Given To Patients
The most common radiation therapy used for the treatment of bladder cancer is known as external beam radiation therapy. This kind of treatment targets radiation from the source present outside a persons body on cancer.
Before starting the bladder cancer radiation therapy, the radiation team will take out the precise measurement to search for the exact angles. This will aid in aiming the radiation beams and the proper radiation dosages.
The entire planning session is commonly known as simulation. It usually includes obtaining image tests of patients, which consist of MRI or CT scans. With these scans, a doctor can easily map the location of the tumor inside your body. The doctor will ask you to empty your bladder before each treatment and simulation.
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This treatment may sound like an X-ray to many, but the radiation is actually stronger. Also, you dont feel any pain during bladder cancer radiation therapy. The time period of each treatment lasts for only a few minutes. However, shifting a patient to the treatment place generally takes a while.
On a normal basis, bladder cancer radiation therapy is given around five days a week. This therapy process runs for several weeks.
What Is Renal Ultrasound
Renal ultrasound is the least invasive way to evaluate the kidneys. It does not require radiation and avoids contrast. It may be used in lower risk patients and those with contrast allergies or poor renal function. Unfortunately, it can miss small kidney stones and tumors. Also, it will not detect tumors in the ureter unless they are causing a blockage leading to hydronephrosis.
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If Youre Getting Radiation Therapy To The Brain
People with brain tumors often get stereotactic radiosurgery if the cancer is in only one or a few sites in the brain. Side effects depend on where the radiation is aimed. Some side effects might show up quickly, but others might not show up until 1 to 2 years after treatment. Talk with your radiation oncologist about what to watch for and when to call your doctor.
If the cancer is in many areas, sometimes the whole brain is treated with radiation. The side effects of whole brain radiation therapy may not be noticeable until a few weeks after treatment begins.
Radiation to the brain can cause these short-term side effects:
- Trouble with memory and speech
Some of these side effects can happen because radiation has caused the brain to swell. Medicines are usually given to prevent brain swelling, but its important to let your cancer care team know about headaches or any other symptoms. Treatment can affect each person differently, and you may not have these particular side effects.
Radiation to the brain can also have side effects that show up later usually from 6 months to many years after treatment ends. These delayed effects can include serious problems such as memory loss, stroke-like symptoms, and poor brain function. You may also have an increased risk of having another tumor in the area, although this is not common.
Talk with your cancer care team about what to expect from your specific treatment plan.
What Happens To The Prostate After Radiation
The prostate gland will end up having a lot of scar tissue. It will shrink in size to about half its original weight within a couple years after finishing radiation. The urethra passes through the canter of the prostate gland like the hole of a doughnut. Sometimes this passage can widen, other times it can shrink after radiation. In summary, the prostate gland is heavily damaged from radiation and does not work normally afterwards.
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Bladder Cancer Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is a popular treatment method for bladder cancer. RT uses precise and focused high-energy beams that assist in eliminating cancer cells.
An oncologist can deliver radiation therapy in various forms. These forms can vary based on the cancer type, tumor location in the body, and how much it has spread.
You may receive Bladder cancer radiation therapy before, during, or even after the surgery.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor Or Nurse
- Is the treatment Im having for prostate cancer likely to cause any urinary problems?
- What type of urinary problems might I get?
- What should I do if I cant urinate?
- Will my urinary problems get better?
- What treatments are available?
- What are the risks and side effects of treatments for urinary problems?
- What can I do to help myself?
- Where can I get pads and other products?
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself
About half of all people with bladder cancer have early-stage cancer thats relatively easy to treat. But bladder cancer often comes back . People whove had bladder cancer will need regular checkups after treatment. Being vigilant about follow-up care is one thing you can do to take care of yourself. Here are some other suggestions from the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network include:
- Follow a heart-healthy diet: Plan menus that include skinless poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Focus on high-fiber foods: Bladder cancer treatment may cause digestive issues and a fiber-rich diet may help.
- Get some exercise: Gentle exercise may help manage stress.
- Connect with others: Bladder cancer often comes back. Its not easy to have a rare disease thats likely to return. Connecting with people who understand what youre going through may help.
Some people with bladder cancer need surgery that removes their bladder and their bodies natural reservoir for pee. There are three types of urinary diversion surgeries. All three types involve surgically converting part of your intestine to become a passage tube for pee or a reservoir for storing pee.
Urinary diversion may be a challenging lifestyle change. If youll need urinary diversion surgery, ask your healthcare provider to explain each surgery types advantages and disadvantages. That way, youll know what to expect and how to take care of yourself.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bladder Cancer In A Dog
The common symptoms of bladder cancer are almost identical to those of bacterial infections of the urinary tract, and they include:
- Frequent urination in small amounts
- Painful urination
- Blood spots in the urine
- Persistent urinary tract or bladder infection even with treatment
- Urination accidents in the house.
Not all clinical signs of bladder cancer in dogs are related to the urinary tract. For example, bladder tumors can also cause some non-specific health problems such as:
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Causes And Risk Factors
Researchers dont know exactly what causes bladder cancer, but they do know what increases the risk of getting it. These risk factors range from family history to certain types of medication.
Data published in 2021 on MedRxiv by researchers from the online pharmacy Valisure and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center showed patients who took Zantac had elevated diagnosis rates of bladder, breast, prostate and thyroid cancer.
Patients should keep in mind that this data suggests a link between ranitidine and increased risk, but it doesnt prove that all people who take ranitidine will get bladder cancer.
Prostate Cancer Patients Who Have Received Radiation Have More Than Twice The Risk Of Getting Bladder Cancer Compared To Those Who Received Only Hormone Therapy Nevertheless Radiation Patients Have A Much Better Chance Of Living Longer According To A New Norwegian Study
Patients with advanced prostate cancer nowadays are often offered radiation along with hormone therapy.
In a new study, researchers looked at the risk that radiation treatment could lead to other types of cancer.
They compared patients who have only received hormone therapy with patients who have received both radiation and hormone therapy.
We see that the risk of getting a new type of cancer a so-called secondary cancer was somewhat greater among those who had been treated with radiation. The primary increased risk was for bladder cancer, said first author Bjørg Aksnessæther, who is a PhD fellow and senior consultant in the Cancer Department at Ålesund Hospital.
However, the chances of living longer were far better in those who received radiation than in the group that only received hormone therapy.
“Those who only received hormone therapy died to a much greater extent from their prostate cancer,” she said.
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Radiation Treatment Is Ok
Aksnessæther emphasizes that they dont advise patients not to receive radiation.
“We see that 85 percent of cases of bladder cancer are superficial cancers, which the patient is unlikely to die from,” she says.
In today’s treatment regimen, a greater proportion of patients with local, advanced prostate cancer are treated surgically. But still, a good number of people receive radiation and hormone therapy. It is uncertain what gives the best results, and there is a Scandinavian study underway to investigate this.
We see that a fair amount of the patients who have been operated need radiation therapy afterwards because they have relapses the operation has not succeeded in removing all parts of the tumour. We look forward to receiving the results of this new study so that we can give even better advice to patients regarding choice of treatment, Aksnessæther said.
How Bladder Cancer Is Treated
Different people with bladder cancer have different needs that have to treated. The treatments that your doctor recommends in the treatment plan are chosen based on the characteristics of your diagnosis and your overall health, as well as other factors.
Take time to learn about all of your treatment options and be sure to ask questions about things that are unclear. Also, talk about the goals of each treatment with your doctor and what you can expect while receiving the treatment. These types of talks are called shared decision-making. Shared decision-making is when you and your doctors work together to choose treatments that fit the goals of your care. Shared decision-making is particularly important for bladder cancer because there are different treatment options. Learn more about making treatment decisions.
To read an overview of treatment options based on the extent of the bladder cancer, read the next section in this guide, Treatments by Stage.
The most common types of treatments used for bladder cancer are described below. Your care plan also includes treatment for symptoms and side effects, an important part of cancer care.
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Physical Emotional And Social Effects Of Cancer
Cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and side effects, as well as emotional, social, and financial effects. Managing all of these effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of your care that is included along with treatments intended to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer.
Palliative care focuses on improving how you feel during treatment by managing symptoms and supporting patients and their families with other, non-medical needs. Any person, regardless of age or type and stage of cancer, may receive this type of care. And it often works best when it is started right after an advanced cancer diagnosis. People who receive palliative care along with treatment for the cancer often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report that they are more satisfied with treatment.
Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional and spiritual support, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to get rid of the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.
How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Bladder Cancer
Healthcare providers do a series of tests to diagnose bladder cancer, including:
- Urinalysis: Providers use a variety of tests to analyze your pee. In this case, they may do urinalysis to rule out infection.
- Cytology: Providers examine cells under a microscope for signs of cancer.
- Cystoscopy: This is the primary test to identify and diagnose bladder cancer. For this test, providers use a pencil-sized lighted tube called a cystoscope to view the inside of your bladder and urethra. They may use a fluorescent dye and a special blue light that makes it easier to see cancer in your bladder. Providers may also take tissue samples while doing cystoscopies.
If urinalysis, cytology and cystoscopy results show you have bladder cancer, healthcare providers then do tests to learn more about the cancer, including:
Healthcare providers then use what they learn about the cancer to stage the disease. Staging cancer helps providers plan treatment and develop a potential prognosis or expected outcome.
Bladder cancer can be either early stage or invasive .
The stages range from TA to IV . In the earliest stages , the cancer is confined to the lining of your bladder or in the connective tissue just below the lining, but hasnt invaded the main muscle wall of your bladder.
Stages II to IV denote invasive cancer:
A more sophisticated and preferred staging system is TNM, which stands for tumor, node involvement and metastases. In this system:
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Living With Advanced Cancer
Advanced cancer usually means cancer that is unlikely to be cured. Some people can live for many months or years with advanced cancer. During this time palliative care services can help.
Most people continue to have treatment for advanced cancer as part of palliative care, as it helps manage the cancer and improve their day-to-day lives. Many people think that palliative care is for people who are dying but palliative care is for any stage of advanced cancer. There are doctors, nurses and other people who specialise in palliative care.
Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or another type of treatment. It can help in these ways:
- slow down how fast the cancer is growing
- shrink the cancer
- help you to live more comfortably by managing symptoms, like pain.
Treatment depends on:
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What Can Help With Leaking Urine
There are treatments and products available that can help, and there are things you can do to help yourself. Your treatment options will depend on how much urine youre leaking, and how recently you had your prostate cancer treatment.
Treatments and products available that can help include:
- absorbent pads and pants
- bed protectors and handheld urinals
If you have sudden urges to urinate and sometimes leak urine before you get to the toilet , you may be offered bladder retraining.
If you still leak urine six to twelve months after surgery and pelvic floor muscle exercises havent helped, there are treatments available that might help. These may include:
- an internal male sling
- adjustable balloons
Talk to your doctor or nurse about treatments and products that may be suitable for you.
Absorbent pads and pants
These can be worn inside your underwear or instead of underwear to soak up any leaks. Some people find it helpful to wear close fitting underwear with pads. You may want to try female pads as your leaking improves, as these tend to be smaller and lighter and may fit better. Pads are usually very discreet, so people wont know youre wearing them. But you may feel more confident wearing dark trousers so it wont show as much if your pad does leak.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises
Bed protectors and handheld urinals
Internal male sling
Like all treatments, there can be side effects.
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What Is Radiation Cystitis
Radiation cystitis is condition where the bladder become inflamed because of exposure to radiation. It is rare for most people to be exposed to radiation for other than medical reasons. The bladder itself may be targeted in radiation therapy or the other pelvic organs may be irradiated for cancer at these sites with the bladder being incidentally affected due to the close proximity.
The extent of the tissue injury associated with radiation exposure can range from minor irritation, to severe inflammation and even death of a portion of bladder tissue.Better targeting and delivery methods these days has helped in minimizing more severe forms of radiation cystitis.
Treatment Of Radiation Cystitis
The treatment of radiations cystitis depends on a host of factors such as the grade of the presenting symptom and extent of the radiation injury. There is a range of medication that may be used for treating radiation cystitis. Surgery is sometimes necessary for severe cases and this may even involve bladder removal. There is some evidence to warrant the use of substances to prevent radiation cystitis in a patient undergoing radiotherapy for cancer treatment.
- Pentosan polysulfate is one of the first line treatments and can greatly reduce the symptoms.
- Hyperbaric oxygen has also shown to be effective in most cases and is a popular treatment option.
- Antioxidants like orgotein and dimethyl sulfoxide may be useful in preventing the condition.
- Sclerosing agents may be injected into the bladder to reduce or stop bleeding.
- Analgesics help with pain management in radiation cystitis.
- Surgeries like bladder augmentation which increases bladder volume and urinary diversion to channel urine through an alternate pathway. Surgical removal of the bladder known as a cystectomy is reserved as the last option in radiation cystitis.
Picture of hyperbaric oxygen chamber from Wikimedia Commons
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