Bladder Cancer

From diagnosis to treatment, our team of bladder cancer specialists utilize the latest technology and treatment protocols with a continued goal of positive outcomes and quality of life.


What is Bladder Cancer?

The bladder is the body’s storage organ for urine produced by the kidneys, which filter and remove from the blood the waste products of metabolism. The bladder is hollow, located at the base of the pelvis, and composed of smooth muscle. These features allow it to most effectively collect urine on its way out of the body.

What Causes Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer develops as a result of changes to the genetic material within bladder cells. These changes result in the pattern of cell growth and division characteristic of bladder cancer. Although the increased likelihood of developing bladder cancer is associated with the following factors, in most cases, physicians and scientists are still trying to determine what causes bladder cancer to develop:

 

  • Aging
  • Being a male
  • Bladder birth defects
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to carcinogens
  • Bladder stones
  • Chronic bladder infections and irritation
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Cowen disease
  • Prior to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy
  • Personal history of bladder cancer
  • Family history of bladder cancer
  • Use of the drug Pioglitazone (Actos)
  • Not consuming enough liquids

How Is Bladder Cancer Detected?

Our specialists collect information regarding medical history, surgical history, social history, and family history; conduct laboratory testing, and review radiological studies to approach patient care in the most comprehensive and personalized manner.

 

If bladder cancer is suspected, a doctor will likely order either urine cytology, a cystoscopy, or an imaging study to help arrive at a diagnosis. Urine cytology is a test doctors use to see if there are any tumor cells in a urine sample. A cystoscopy allows doctors to see inside the body with the help of a flexible tube known as a cystoscope. Imaging studies might include a CT scan, PET scan, PET-CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI. A CT (computed tomography) scan uses X-rays to generate a three-dimensional picture of the body whereas a PET (positron emission tomography) scan uses a small amount of radioactive tracer to locate any cancer cells by how readily they take up the radiotracer. A PET-CT combines the features of a CT scan with those of a PET scan. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnetic fields to generate a detailed representation of the body. Lastly, an ultrasound sends sound waves through the body to generate images of the body’s organs and tissues.

 

How Is Bladder Cancer Detected?

Our specialists collect information regarding medical history, surgical history, social history, and family history; conduct laboratory testing, and review radiological studies to approach patient care in the most comprehensive and personalized manner.

If bladder cancer is suspected, a doctor will likely order either urine cytology, a cystoscopy, or an imaging study to help arrive at a diagnosis. Urine cytology is a test doctors use to see if there are any tumor cells in a urine sample. A cystoscopy allows doctors to see inside the body with the help of a flexible tube known as a cystoscope. Imaging studies might include a CT scan, PET scan, PET-CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI. A CT (computed tomography) scan uses X-rays to generate a three-dimensional picture of the body whereas a PET (positron emission tomography) scan uses a small amount of radioactive tracer to locate any cancer cells by how readily they take up the radiotracer. A PET-CT combines the features of a CT scan with those of a PET scan. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnetic fields to generate a detailed representation of the body. Lastly, an ultrasound sends sound waves through the body to generate images of the body’s organs and tissues.

If upon review of your results your doctor notices a mass suspicious for bladder cancer, he or she will likely order a biopsy in order to make a diagnosis and plan treatment, if necessary.

Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

The following may be indicative of bladder cancer but may also be indicative of other illnesses:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Frequent and/or painful urination
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Needing to urinate at night (nocturia)
  • Needing to urinate without the ability to pass urine
  • Lower abdominal and/or back pain
  • Darkening of the urine

It is important you tell your doctor if you have any of these signs and symptoms, so he or she may determine their cause and plan treatment, if necessary.

Stages of Bladder Cancer

Stages of Bladder Cancer

“Staging” occurs when a physician uses to test and scan results to determine which parts of the body are involved by cancer, in this case, bladder cancer. Staging is important because different stages of bladder cancer are better addressed with treatments that may differ in amount, combination, or type. According to the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), the stages for bladder cancer are as follows

 

Stage 0a

Bladder cancer only involves the surface of the interior lining the bladder.

 

Stage 0is

Here, bladder cancer only involves the interior lining of the bladder.

 

Stage I

Cancer has penetrated through the bladder’s interior lining.

 

Stage II

Cancer has penetrated deeper into the bladder’s muscular wall.

 

Stage III

Cancer now extends through the muscular wall and into fatty tissue that surrounds the bladder. Cancer might even involve the prostate in men or the uterus and vagina in women.

 

Stage IV

The primary tumor has grown to include the pelvic wall or abdominal wall but does not include the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. OR

Cancer has spread to at least one of the nearby lymph nodes but has not spread to other parts of the body. OR

The tumor has spread to other, perhaps distant, parts of the body.

Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

The following may be indicative of bladder cancer but may also be indicative of other illnesses:

 

Blood in the urine (hematuria)

Frequent and/or painful urination

Burning sensation when urinating

Needing to urinate at night (nocturia)

Needing to urinate without the ability to pass urine

Lower abdominal and/or back pain

Darkening of the urine

It is important you tell your doctor if you have any of these signs and symptoms, so he or she may determine their cause and plan treatment, if necessary.

 

How Is Bladder Cancer Treated?

Treatment of bladder cancer, depending on the stage and type, may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or surgery. These treatments may be used individually or in combination based on your doctor’s recommendations. It’s important to discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor to help make the decision that best fits your needs. Some important factors to consider when deciding on a bladder cancer treatment plan include

  • Your age, health, and lifestyle.
  • The stage of your cancer.
  • Any other serious health conditions you have.
  • Your feelings about the need to treat cancer right away.
  • Your doctor’s opinion about if you need to treat cancer right away.
  • The likelihood that treatment will help fight or cure your cancer.
  • Possible side effects of each treatment method.

You may feel the need to make a quick decision, but it is very important to ask questions if there is anything about which you’re not entirely sure. It is very important for you and your doctor to communicate and work together to weigh the benefits of each treatment option against the possible adverse effects in order to ultimately determine which treatment option is best for you.

Our Approach

We understand that a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and scary. Here at New Jersey Cancer & Blood Specialists, we build our teams around you. Our expert oncologists will help guide you through this difficult time, answering any questions you may have along the way. We are here for you, and will do everything in our power to meet your specific needs and exceed your expectations. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms that may be related to adrenal cancer, please call us as soon as possible at (201) 500-4958 or make an appointment online