What is bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the bladder. The bladder is a hollow muscular organ located in the lower abdomen and is responsible for storing urine.
This type of cancer originates when the cells that make up the urinary bladder begin to grow uncontrollably. As more cancer cells develop, they can form a tumor and over time spread to other areas of the body.
Types of bladder cancer include:
- Urothelial carcinoma: Urothelial carcinoma, formerly called transitional cell carcinoma, occurs in the cells that line the inside of the bladder. Urothelial cells expand when the bladder is full and contract when the bladder is empty. These same cells line the inside of the ureters and urethra, and cancers can also form in those places.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: Squamous cell carcinoma is associated with chronic irritation of the bladder, for example from infection or prolonged use of a urinary catheter.
- Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma begins in the cells that make up the mucus-secreting glands in the bladder. Bladder adenocarcinoma is very rare.
How is it treated?
Once bladder cancer has been diagnosed and the stage of the tumor is known, the most appropriate treatment will be determined. In the same way as in the approach to other cancers, the treatment of this type of cancer must be multidisciplinary, to combine therapies and increase the cure rate.
In any case, the most common treatments for bladder cancer are surgery, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and chemotherapy.