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Bladder Cancer

Learn how to determine if you have bladder cancer

Bladder cancer refers to several types of malignant tumors within the bladder, which is part of the urinary tract system. Tumors typically begin in the lining of the bladder and multiply without control, causing the bladder to become extremely engorged and painful.

Cancer of the bladder is normally caused by tobacco smoking, with smoking being the cause of over half of the bladder cancer cases in America alone. The tobacco contains carcinogens which are directly correlated to bladder cancer. Other causes include workplace carcinogens, which are thought to cause over 30% of cases. Bladder cancer can also be a secondary cancer to kidney cancer.

Bladder cancer symptoms

Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine, pain during urination, frequent urination, incontinence, and need to urinate without results. Pain in the bladder and during urination is one of the most common symptoms. Bladder cancer pain can be severe and may need treatment with narcotic drugs.

Bladder cancer treatment

Treatment for bladder cancer depends on how deeply the tumor has invaded the bladder wall. Some tumors can be "shaved off" using cauterization, but some cases are so severe that a complete bladder removal, or a cystectomy, must be performed. Thermotherapy, or the heating of the bladder wall to kill cancer cells, can be quite successful, but if none of these treatments work, chemotherapy and radiation is needed to kill cancer cells.

The survival rate of bladder cancer depends on the stage that the patient is in. Stage IV bladder cancer has a five-year survival rate of only 5%. However, localized bladder cancer has a survival rate of 70% over 5 years. This is one of the harder cancers to treat and must be caught relatively early in order for good odds for survival.

Prevention of bladder cancer really is not known -- however, some cruciferous vegetables and fruit are thought to help prevent cells from growing in the bladder and causing cancer. As well, frequent intake of water can help to keep the bladder healthy. However, there is no way to really predict bladder cancer or to prevent it totally.

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