- Bladder cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the bladder.
- Smoking can affect the risk of bladder cancer.
- Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine and pain during urination.
- Tests that examine the urine and bladder are used to help detect (find) and diagnose bladder cancer.
- Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.
These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by bladder cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Blood in the urine (slightly rusty to bright red in color).
- Frequent urination.
- Pain during urination.
- Lower back pain.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the following:
- The stage of the cancer (whether it is superficial or invasive bladder cancer, and whether it has spread to other places in the body). Bladder cancer in the early stages can often be cured.
- The type of bladder cancer cells and how they look under a microscope.
- Whether there is carcinoma in situ in other parts of the bladder.
- The patient’s age and general health.
If the cancer is superficial, prognosis also depends on the following:
- How many tumors there are.
- The size of the tumors.
- Whether the tumor has recurred (come back) after treatment.
Treatment options depend on the stage of bladder cancer.
STAGES OF BLADDER CANCER
The stage of a cancer means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Knowing the stage helps your doctor decide which treatment you need. Once your doctors know the stage of the cancer, they can decide on the most appropriate treatment for you. A common staging system uses numbers to indicate the stage of the cancer.
There is a small area of cancer only in the bladder lining.
Stage 0is or CIS (carcinoma in situ)
This is sometimes described as a flat tumour. The cancer cells are confined to the inside layer of the lining of the bladder.
The cancer has grown into the layer of connective tissue beneath the bladder lining.
The cancer has grown into the muscle of the bladder wall under the connective tissue layer.
The cancer has grown through the muscle of the bladder and into the fat layer surrounding it. It may have spread to the prostate, womb or vagina.
The cancer has spread to the wall of the abdomen or pelvis, the lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. If bladder cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it will most likely go to the lungs, liver or bones.
DOCTORS MAY ALSO USE A NUMBER STAGING SYSTEM, BUT THIS IS LESS COMMON FOR BLADDER CANCER.
Tumour describes the size of the tumour.
Doctors find the T stage by taking tissue samples (biopsies) to look at the grade of the cancer cells. They also look at your bladder using a cystoscopy and a CT or MRI scan.
There are several T stages:
- CIS or Tis means very early, high grade cancer cells are only in the innermost layer of the bladder lining
- Ta means the cancer is just in the innermost layer of the bladder lining
- T1 means the cancer has started to grow into the connective tissue beneath the bladder lining
- T2 means the cancer has grown through the connective tissue into the muscle
- T2a means the cancer has grown into the superficial muscle
- T2b means the cancer has grown into the deeper muscle
- T3 means the cancer has grown through the muscle into the fat layer
- T3a means the cancer in the fat layer can only be seen under a microscope (microscopic invasion)
- T3b means the cancer in the fat layer can be seen on tests, or felt by your doctor during an examination under anaesthetic (macroscopic invasion)
- T4 means the cancer has spread outside the bladder
- T4a means the cancer has spread to the prostate, womb (uterus) or vagina
- T4b means the cancer has spread to the wall of the pelvis or abdomen
Node in TNM means your lymph nodes which are a network of glands throughout the body, for example in your armpits, neck and groins. They drain away waste fluid, waste products and damaged cells, and contain cells that fight infection.
There are 4 lymph node (N) stages in bladder cancer. The lymph nodes can be seen and measured on a CT scan or MRI scan. Or they may be found during surgery to remove your bladder if this is needed.
There are several N stages:
- N0 means no cancer in any lymph nodes
- N1 means cancer in one lymph node in the pelvis (between your hip bones)
- N2 means cancer in more than one lymph node in the pelvis
- N3 means cancer in one or more lymph nodes just outside the pelvis
Bladder cancer can also spread to lymph nodes in the tummy (abdomen) or in the neck.
Metastasis describes whether the cancer has spread to a different part of the body.
There are two M stages:
- M0 means the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body(distant metastasis)
- M1 means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body like the bones, lungs or liver
If bladder cancer does spread, it is most likely to spread to distant lymph nodes, the bones, the lungs or the liver. If your cancer has spread, you have advanced bladder cancer.