A Patient’s Guide to Bladder Cancer
Your bladder is an organ in your pelvic region that is responsible for storing urine before it is expelled from the body. Hearing that you’ve been diagnosed with cancer is never easy to cope with. However, the good news is that bladder cancer is most often detected when it is still in its early stages, which means that it is more easily treatable as compared to diagnosis in the later stages. After your diagnosis, you’ll likely be referred to a urologist to discuss your treatment options.
Transitional cell carcinoma comprises the bulk of all bladder cancer cases. With this type of bladder cancer, the malignant cells appear similar to the urothelial cells, which are found on the inside of the bladder. If your urologist describes the cells as non-invasive, it means that cancer has not penetrated the deeper layers of the bladder. Invasive cancers, on the other hand, have begun to spread. Less common types of bladder cancer include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and sarcoma.
Urologists recommend that patients act as their own advocates for their well-being. If you notice any unusual symptoms, it’s important to make an appointment for a check-up as soon as possible. Ignoring the symptoms of bladder cancer, such as bloody urine, gives cancer an opportunity to spread. Other symptoms include frequent or painful urination and pain of the back or pelvis.
Many factors will inform your treatment recommendations, including the type and stage of cancer, your personal preferences, and your general health. Different surgical approaches are available for both early-stage and late-stage cancer. Chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery, or without surgery. Bladder cancer patients might also receive biological therapy drugs, or immunotherapy, which stimulates the immune system to fight the disease. Less commonly, a physician might recommend radiation therapy for bladder cancer.
If you’ve been diagnosed with bladder cancer in Nashville, you can consult a specialist at Urology Associates, P.C. Our urology specialists can help you understand the disease and explore your treatment options. In the event that surgery is a viable option for you, you can take advantage of our on-site Urology Surgery Center.