Bladder cancer is a tumor that starts in the bladder, which holds and releases urine. These tumors are classified based on the way they grow:
- Papillary tumors have a wart-like appearance and are attached to a stalk.
- Nonpapillary tumors are flat. They are much less common, but more invasive and have worse outcomes.
Symptoms of bladder cancer can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the urine
- Bone pain or tenderness if the cancer spreads to the bone
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Urinary urgency
- Urine leakage (incontinence)
- Weight loss & fatigue
If you are suspected of having bladder cancer, you will undergo a physical examination including a rectal and pelvic exam. Other tests that may be performed can include:
- Abdominal CT scan
- Bladder biopsy (usually performed during cystoscopy)
- Cystoscopy (examining the inside of the bladder with a camera)
- Intravenous pyelogram – IVP
- Abdominal MRI scan
- Pelvic CT scan
- Urine cytology
- Treatments will depend on the stage and the severity of the cancer and your overall health.
- Surgery to remove the tumor
- Surgery to remove only part of the bladder, followed by radiation and chemotherapy
- Surgery to remove the entire bladder (radical cystectomy) and nearby lymph nodes
- A combination of chemotherapy and radiation
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