Bladder Cancer

Each year, more than 81,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in the United States, overwhelmingly among men (by more than 3:1). Thankfully, this type of cancer isn’t aggressive, allowing ample time for treatment. To get this treatment, rely on the team at Charleston Oncology for the most up-to-date protocols. If you’re dealing with bladder cancer, call today to request an appointment.

Bladder Cancer Q & A

What are the most common forms of bladder cancer?

Far and away, the most common form of bladder cancer is urothelial carcinoma, or transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), which starts in the urothelial cells along the inside of your bladder. These cells are also found in other areas of your urinary tract, so cancer may also develop in your:

  • Kidney (the part that attaches to your urinary tract)
  • Ureters
  • Urethra

TCC is typically divided into invasive and non-invasive types, depending upon whether it’s just the lining that’s affected or whether the cells have invaded deeper into the walls of your bladder.

There are other types of bladder cancers, though they are relatively rare, and include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Small cell carcinoma

The good news is that seven out of 10 diagnoses occur during the early stages of the disease.

How is bladder cancer diagnosed?
If you’re experiencing blood in your urine or pain while you urinate, your doctor performs a number of tests to rule out bladder infections, first and foremost. If your doctor finds no evidence of an infection, they refer you to a specialist at Charleston Oncology who conducts a thorough evaluation, which may include a:
  • Urinalysis
  • Cystoscopy, where your doctor inserts a tiny camera into your urethra
  • Biopsy, which your doctor may execute during your cystoscopy
  • CT urogram with contrast dye
  • Retrograde pyelogram using a catheter, contrast dye, and X-ray imaging
If your doctor finds evidence of bladder cancer, the next step is determining the extent of cancer, which they do through more advanced imaging and testing to determine whether your tumor is low- or high-grade.
How is bladder cancer treated?

There’s no single answer to this question as it depends upon the extent and stage of your bladder cancer. In its early stages, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive surgery called a transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT) to remove the tumor or a partial cystectomy to remove part of your bladder. If cancer has affected a large portion of your bladder, they may recommend a radical cystectomy to remove your entire bladder.

If your bladder is removed, the surgeon will then create a new way for urine to leave your body.

Outside of the surgeries, the team at Charleston Oncology offers the following treatments to eradicate the disease:

  • Immunotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Clinical trials

If preserving your bladder is important, the team works with your surgeon to provide multi-pronged approaches that rely on one or more of the therapies listed above alongside surgery.

To explore your bladder cancer treatment options, call Charleston Oncology to schedule a consultation.

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