What is Bladder Cancer?
What is Bladder Cancer? Bladder cancer is the growth of abnormal tissue or tumors in the malignant bladder wall. The function of the bladder organs itself is to hold the urine before being channeled out of the body while urinating.
Bladder cancer patients are generally elderly people. Once treated, the patient should follow advanced testing because bladder cancer has a considerable risk for recurrence.
In addition to the bladder wall, bladder cancer can also spread to the muscles around the bladder. Immediately consult a doctor if there is blood in the urine, although it does not hurt.
Symptoms of bladder cancer
Symptoms are something that is felt and told by the patient. Symptoms commonly experienced by bladder cancer patients is the presence of blood in the urine that is usually not accompanied by pain.
Some other symptoms of bladder cancer are:
- Often want to urinate suddenly.
- Frequency of urination more frequent, but the amount of urine is released only slightly.
- Frequent urinary tract infections.
- Burning or burning sensation during urination.
- Pain in the back.
If the bladder cancer has reached an advanced stage and begins to spread, some of the symptoms that the patient feels are:
- Swelling of the feet.
- Pain in the pelvis or around the rectum.
- Weight loss for no apparent reason.
- Bone pain.
Causes and Risk Factors of Bladder Cancer
The emergence of bladder cancer is caused by a change in cells in the bladder. However, the exact cause of bladder cancer has not been known to date. However, bladder cancer is often associated with smoking, parasitic infections, exposure to chemicals, and radiation.
Some things that also increase a person’s risk of developing bladder cancer are:
- Growing age. The risk of bladder cancer will increase as you get older.
- Men, more at risk of developing bladder cancer than women.
- White race. White race has a higher risk of developing bladder cancer than other human races.
- Never had cancer treatment.
- Are taking certain diabetes drugs.
- Chronic bladder inflammation.
- Heredity factor.
Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer
Diagnosis is a doctor’s step to identify a disease or condition that explains the symptoms and signs experienced by the patient. Tests that doctors usually do to diagnose bladder cancer are:
- Cystoscopy. The procedure in which a small camera mounted on a fine hose with a lamp is used to check your bladder.
- Imaging Test. The doctor will take a detailed bladder image with a CT scan, an intravenous urogram, or an MRI.
- Biopsy. The doctor will take tissue samples for testing. This sampling procedure is usually known by the abbreviation TURBT (transurethral resection of bladder tumor).
- Urine cytology. The patient’s urine sample will be investigated if it contains cancer cells.
If the patient is positive for bladder cancer, the doctor will advise the patient to undergo further examination to determine the severity of the cancer. There are several levels of bladder cancer severity namely:
- Stage 1: Cancer is only in the inner wall of the bladder and has not spread to other parts.
- Stage 2: The cancer has penetrated the entire lining of the bladder wall, but it is still local and only about the bladder only.
- Stage 3: Cancer cells have spread through the bladder wall to nearby tissues.
- Stage 4: The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other organs such as bone, liver, or lungs.
Treatment of Bladder Cancer
How to handle bladder cancer usually depends on the severity of cancer suffered by the patient. Bladder cancer is divided into two, early bladder cancer and bladder cancer that has spread.
Several ways of handling for early stage bladder cancer are:
- Rapture of tumor. Usually the TURBT (transurethral resection of bladder tumor) method is used by doctors to remove cancer in the inner wall of the bladder.
- Partial cystectomy, ie surgery to remove the tumor and a small part of the bladder containing cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy, is a biological therapy that works by making the patient’s immune system to fight the development of cancer cells.
While the treatment of bladder cancer that has spread to the innermost layer of the bladder wall (advanced stage) is surgery to remove the whole bladder (radical cystectomy) and the creation of new urine channels.
In addition to surgery, these two stages of bladder cancer are also treated with the following two methods:
- Chemotherapy, using drugs to kill cancer cells. Usually the doctor will use a combination of two types of drugs in chemotherapy. Can be done before and after surgery.
- Radiation therapy, using high-energy rays directed to cancer to destroy cancer cells. Usually done to eradicate the remaining cancer cells that still exist after surgery.
Both methods can be combined, if surgical measures can not be performed. However, chemotherapy and radiation therapy have side effects on the patient’s body, namely:
- Chemotherapy: Weakens the immune system, cough, fever, skin redness, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
- Radiation therapy: Diarrhea, swelling of the bladder, narrowed vagina, erectile dysfunction, pubic hair loss, infertility or sterility, fatigue, and difficulty urinating.
Complications of Bladder Cancer
There are several complications that can be suffered by bladder cancer patients after undergoing treatment:
- Urine diversity. If the patient’s bladder is removed, then the doctor will perform a urinal dysfunction procedure. Some types of urinary diversion are urostomy (making a hole in the abdominal wall for urine exhaust to the external urine bag), diversi urine kontinen (making urine bags in the body using a small portion of the intestinal wall and a hole with a valve in the abdominal wall), bladder reconstruction Artificial bladder (neobladder) using the intestinal wall and training the sufferer to urinate). In bladder reconstruction, the patient does not receive excitatory to urinate from neobladder when filled with urine. Then the abdominal and pelvic muscles need to be trained to push the urine out.
- Erectile dysfunction. The whole bladder removal action can cause the sufferer to do or maintain an erection.
- Vaginal constriction. Radiation therapy and removal of the bladder can also make the narrowing and vaginal discharge.
- Depression. Living with a bladder cancer can make the sufferer emotional unacceptable. Depression when diagnosed, happy when cancer is removed, and back depression when feeling the effects of treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you feel sad and despair prolonged, and can no longer enjoy the things that are usually fun.
Prevention of Bladder Cancer
There are several preventive measures to avoid bladder cancer, namely:
- Diet. High intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as the reduction of fatty foods may help prevent bladder cancer.
- Expand the consumption of mineral water. In theory, toxic substances that accumulate in the bladder can be diluted and removed more quickly by increasing the consumption of mineral water.
- Be careful with chemicals. Reduce the risk of exposure to some chemicals by using a shield. Especially people who work in factories and in direct contact with rubber, textile, plastics, dyeing, and diesel fumes materials.
- Quitting smoking will reduce exposure to cancer-causing chemicals into the body.