Urinary Bladder Cancer
Cancer of the urinary bladder is one of the common cancers affecting both men and women.The most common symptom is bleeding in the urine (hematuria).Cigarette smoking is the most significant risk factor with smokers being 3 – 4 times more likely to get the disease than nonsmokers. It usually occurs in persons above 50 years of age. However, it is also sometimes seen in younger men and women.
The aggressiveness of bladder cancer is determined by “Stage” and “Grade”. Stage is the extent to which the cancer has invaded the wall of the urinary bladder. On the basis of stage, bladder cancer can be sub-divided into ‘superficial’ and ‘muscle invasive’ with the former having much better treatment outcomes than the latter. Grade is of two types and is determined by microscopic examination of the cancerous growth after its removal. ‘High grade’ signifies a more aggressive cancer, with a greater ability to grow and spread, as compared to ‘Low grade’.
The initial treatment for bladder cancer is transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT), which removes the growth from the bladder and provides information regarding stage and grade of the tumor. This operation is done through the normal urinary passage with special instruments. This does not result in any ‘cut’ on the body, usually takes 15 – 45 minutes, and entails a stay in the hospital of 24 – 48 hours.