Each year approximately 275, 000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer worldwide and 108, 000 people die of the disease. It ranks 10th among the most common cancers. While Greece, Lebanon, and Denmark top the list of countries with the most bladder cancer cases in the world, India is not very far behind.
Bladder cancer is a nonlinear form of cancer, and it can manifest in multiple ways. Dr. P.K. Das, the best oncologist in Delhi NCR, and his team’s expertise in urology, medical oncology, urologic surgery, radiation oncology, pathology, and radiology has helped thousands of bladder cancer patients in the last 20+ years.
The type of bladder cancer is diagnosed based on how the tumor cells look under the microscope. The three types of bladder cancer are:
90% of bladder cancers are urothelial carcinoma or UCC. Not only that, but it also accounts for 10-15% of kidney cancers diagnosed in adults. It begins in the urothelial cells of the urinary tract and then spreads. UCC is also called transitional cell carcinoma or TCC.
If there is an irritation or inflammation in the bladder lining, squamous cells will develop. Over time, these cells have the potential of becoming cancerous. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 4% of all types of bladder cancers.
Adenocarcinomas account for 2% of all bladder cancers. They develop from glandular cells in the body.
In this stage, the bladder cancer stays in the inner lining.
In this stage, cancer has spread to the walls of the bladder.
In this stage, cancer has reached the muscle of the bladder wall.
This is the stage in which cancer has spread to the fatty tissues around the bladder. It has also possibly spread to certain nearby lymph nodes. Not only that, but it may also have spread to the prostate in men or the uterus or vagina in women.
In this case, cancer has spread to the pelvic or abdominal walls, lymph nodes, or distant sites such as bone, liver, or lungs.
Some warning signs of bladder cancer, according to any of the best medical oncologists in Delhi & the world are:
Whether picked up by routine testing or visible, blood in urine can be a sign of bladder cancer (not always). In these cases, the urine may look a little darker than usual, maybe brownish or red (if rarely). More often than not, blood in the urine is not caused by cancer but by some other causes like trauma, infection, blood or kidney disorders, or drugs such as blood thinners.
Changes in the bladder are more likely caused by conditions other than cancer. But bladder cancer too can cause certain changes like:
-Feeling the need to urinate, with little or no results
-Having to urinate more often than usual
NOTE: UTIs/Urinary tract infections or bladder stones can cause similar symptoms, but they require different treatments.
Burning sensation during urination can also be a symptom of bladder cancer. However, they can also be symptoms of UTIs or other infections.
Lower back pain can be caused due to a myriad of reasons. However, lower back pain on one side can often occur due to bladder cancer.
Risk factors for bladder cancer
For bladder cancer, smoking is the most important risk factor. Individuals smoking at least three times are more likely to get bladder cancer than those who don’t. 50% of all bladder cancers in both men and women are caused by smoking.
According to recent research, individuals doing certain jobs, like metal workers, mechanics, and hairdressers, may increase the risk for bladder cancer. Why? Because they are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals. So, if you work with colors/dyes or deal with rubber, textiles, or even paints, you should always follow the safety procedures to a T to reduce contact with dangerous cancer-causing chemicals. If you smoke, that can increase the risk of chemical exposures even more.
Apart from the above two major risk factors, there are other risk factors as well, like:
The pain of bladder cancer is often located in the lower abdomen, mostly on one side.
Bladder cancer survival rates by age
Here are the 5-year survival rates for bladder cancer depending on age and stage of the disease.
For localized cancer, the survival rate for people under the age of 50 is at 83%. For people between the ages of 50 to 64, the survival rate is at 80%. And lastly, for people 65 years and older, the survival rate is at 65%.
For regional cancer, the survival rate for people under the age of 50 is at 43%. For people between the ages of 50 to 64, the survival rate is at 38%. And lastly, for people 65 years and older, the survival rate is at 35%.
For regional cancer, the survival rate for people under the age of 50 is at 8%. For people between the ages of 50 to 64, the survival rate is at 7%. And lastly, for people 65 years and older, the survival rate is at 5%.
Multiple diagnostic tests & procedures are used to detect bladder cancer, mostly in combination. The procedure is selected based on both patient symptoms and risk factors.
The tests & procedures include:
Bladder cancer treatments
Multiple types of therapy and treatments are used to treat bladder cancer. The treatment plan is chosen depending on the type & stage of bladder cancer, a patient’s overall health, and individual preferences. Some of the common cancer treatments in Delhi NCR, India, and the world include:
Through surgery, oncology surgeons remove tumor cells and the surrounding tissue. The kind of surgery used on individuals depends on different factors, such as the size and progression of the tumor.
Chemotherapy, widely known as chemo, involves a drug or a combination of drugs that kills cancer cells in the body. Patients may receive chemotherapy before or after surgery. It can be local (that is delivered directly into the bladder) or systemic (that is taken orally or by injection).
Immunotherapy involves using either naturally occurring or lab-made substances to improve or bolster the cancer patient’s immune system so it can fight cancer. Immunotherapy can also be delivered either locally or systemically.
Radiation therapy uses x-rays or other high-energy waves or particles to target and kill cancer cells in a body.
The top oncologists in Delhi, India, & the world often use the popular chemo drug cisplatin to treat urothelial carcinoma, the most common type of bladder cancer. It is known to be the most effective. However, for other types of bladder cancers, other treatments or a combination of treatments are more effective.
Bladder cancer can be usually treated successfully if caught in the early stages. Later-stage bladder cancers pose greater challenges but are also manageable depending on staging and spread. There is a risk of recurrence for bladder cancer; that is why early detection is important.
The symptoms of bladder cancer are generally the same in men and women. However, in women, the most common bladder cancer symptom-blood in urine-is commonly mistaken for menstruation and often overlooked. Men are more likely to notice blood in urine, so bladder cancer early detection is more common in men.
Blood in urine is the earliest and most common symptom of bladder cancer. Lower back pain and urinary incontinence can also be seen in some people at this stage.
80% of stage 1 bladder cancer patients survive at least 5 years or more after a bladder cancer diagnosis.
The survival rate for stage 4 bladder cancer is 5%.
40% of stage 3 bladder cancer patients survive at least 5 years or more after a bladder cancer diagnosis.
45% of stage 2 bladder cancer patients survive at least 5 years or more after a bladder cancer diagnosis.
The general 5-year survival rate for people with bladder cancer is 77%. This is a very good percentage. Many people live normal lives after bladder cancer diagnosis & treatment. So, if you or your loved one has been diagnosed with bladder cancer, there is no need to worry. If you need more information or guidance, you can always reach out to an expert, like Dr. P.K. Das, a top bladder cancer specialist in Delhi.