You or someone you care about may have been diagnosed with bladder cancer.
This video will help you understand more about bladder cancer and how it affects your body.
Your bladder is a hollow, muscular organ.
It stores urine made by your kidneys.
From the kidneys, urine travels through tubes, called ureters, to reach your bladder.
From the bladder, urine passes out of your body through another tube, called the urethra.
The tissue lining the inside of your bladder is called urothelium or transitional epithelium.
The most common type of bladder cancer, called urothelial carcinoma or transitional cell carcinoma, begins in this layer.
Here, normal cells change into abnormal cells, called cancer cells.
Over time, these cells can grow out of control and form a cluster, called a tumor.
There are two types of urothelial or transitional cell carcinomas, based on how they grow.
A papillary carcinoma grows in toward the hollow center of the bladder.
And, a flat carcinoma does not grow in toward the center.
Flat tumors are much less common. But, they are more likely to spread deeper into the bladder wall.
Bladder cancer may have the following symptoms:
blood in your urine,
feeling an urgent need to urinate, having to urinate more often, pain while urinating,
straining to urinate, and lower back pain.
It’s important to know that other health problems may cause these symptoms as well.
Cancer staging is the process where your doctor figures out if your cancer has spread, and if so, how far.
Stage 0 refers to either a papillary carcinoma or flat carcinoma in situ that is only on the surface of the inner lining of your bladder.
This means it hasn’t spread into your bladder wall.
In stage I, the tumor has grown deeper into the lining, but not into the muscle layer.
In stage II, the tumor has invaded into the muscle layer.
In stage III, the tumor has grown through the muscle layer of your bladder wall and may have spread to nearby organs and lymph nodes.
Finally, in stage IV, the tumor has spread to any of the following:
the wall of your pelvis or abdomen;
or to at least one set of distant lymph nodes;
or a distant organ, such as your liver or lungs.
A number of risk factors may raise your risk of bladder cancer.
The most important risk factor is smoking.
Other risk factors include:
having a personal or family history of bladder cancer;
exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace;
past cancer treatments, such as radiation or anticancer drugs;
and drinking water that contains high levels of arsenic.
As you deal with a diagnosis of bladder cancer, continue to talk to your doctor and your cancer care team.