1 of 8 Photos in Gallery Bladder cancer is one of the most common urological malignancies, widespread among smokers but not only, and is nothing more than the malignant transformation of the cells lining the inner surface of the bladder itself, the organ that collects the urine filtered by the kidneys.
Bladder cancer is one of the most common urological malignancies, widespread among smokers but not only, and is nothing more than the malignant transformation of the cells lining the inner surface of the bladder itself, the organ that collects the urine filtered by the kidneys.
This tumour accounts for about 3% of all cancers worldwide, and looking at urology alone, it is the second most common after prostate cancer. At the time of diagnosis, bladder cancer is superficial in 85% of cases, infiltrating in 15%. Looking at local data (Italy, 2017), the survival rate was 80%, although the risk of recurrence, i.e. the formation of a new tumour once the first one has passed, is very high.
Transitional cell carcinoma accounts for 95% of bladder cancer cases. Other types of bladder cancer are adenocarcinoma and primary squamous cell carcinoma, although these are much less common.
For bladder cancer, smoking is the most important risk factor, followed by chronic exposure to aromatic amines and nitrosamines (industrial substances), any previous radiotherapy, taking drugs such as cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide, and infection with parasites such as Bilharzia and Schistosoma haematobium (found mainly in the Middle East).
The symptoms of bladder cancer are common to all diseases involving the bladder and the urinary system in general. The most common symptoms include: the presence of blood in the urine, the formation of clots, a burning sensation in the bladder when squeezing the abdomen, and difficulty and pain when urinating.
Nowadays, there is no method to prevent bladder cancer. There is no accurate test, no screening and no proper anamnesis. Even existing tests often give false positives. The only way to prevent, or at least try to prevent, this cancer is to lead a healthy life, not smoke and have a balanced diet.
Ultrasound and cystoscopy are the two primary and fundamental clinical examinations if a bladder tumour is suspected. CT scans, PET scans, as well as bone scans are useful to understand whether the tumour has spread beyond the bladder to involve other organs.
The surgical options are considerable and in most cases are performed successfully. Transurethral resection, for small non-infiltrating tumours, and cystectomy (removal of the organ), partial or total, depending on the clinical stage, are the most common. Intravesical treatment with the bacillus Calmette-Guerin, on the other hand, is very useful to try to avoid relapses.
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