Bladder cancer

What is bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer is a cancer that begins in the bladder lining. The bladder is the organ that collects urine before it is excreted from the body. This cancer mostly affects older adults.

What causes bladder cancer?
It’s not clear what exactly causes bladder cancer but several factors have been identified that increase the risk of developing it. Men are more than three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than women, and middle-aged (over age 50) to elderly adults are more at risk than younger ones. There is also a link between bladder cancer and several preventable environmental factors:
• Smoking: smokers have more than twice the risk of developing bladder cancer than nonsmokers
• Exposure to chemicals: Certain chemicals used in industries that manufacture dye, paint, textiles, rubber and leather as well as chemicals used in printing increase the risk of getting bladder cancer
• Eating a lot of fried food, red meat and animal fat

People with chronic bladder inflammations, such as frequent bladder infections and urinary tract problems, should be more vigilant about getting regular early detections tests to test for bladder cancer.

Having one or more risk factors does not mean that a person will definitely get bladder cancer.

What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?
• Blood in the urine (hematuria) is the most common symptom
• Burning or pain during urination
• Increased frequency of urination

Often, there are no symptoms of bladder cancer until it reaches an advanced stage that is difficult to treat. If you have one or more risk factors, make sure that you take screening tests that can detect bladder cancer at early stages, thereby increasing your chances of a cure. Call the Early Detection Unit at KHCC and schedule an appointment today to take screening tests that are able to detect bladder cancer early.

How is bladder cancer diagnosed?
Tests at KHCC that can diagnose bladder cancers include:
• Urinalysis: test that looks for any abnormalities in the urine
• Urine cytology: this is a specific test that examines the cells of the bladder lining (that are shed with urine) under a microscope to detect any malignant cells
• Cytoscopy:  a very thin tube with a camera at the end of it is inserted into the bladder to examine the bladder lining
• Biopsy of the bladder lining
• CT scan of the pelvis and abdomen
• Other tests to screen for spread of the tumor such a bone scan, chest x-ray and CT scan

How is bladder cancer treated at KHCC?
The treating physician will present the case to the MDC panel who will determine the right treatment for the patient depending on how much the cancer has spread throughout the body.

Superficial tumors (tumors that have only affected the inner lining of the bladder) are treated with BCG immunotherapy. BCG is bacteria similar to the one causing tuberculosis and can induce a strong immune response against cancer cells. Bladder cancer is the only cancer in which BCG is commonly used and it is very effective in treating superficial tumors.

For more invasive tumors (those that have penetrated the muscle wall of the bladder) or metastatic tumors, combinations of different chemotherapy drugs are used to eradicate the tumor.

At KHCC, bladder cancer patients receive top quality care through a multidisciplinary team of specialists that is entirely devoted to diagnosing and treating genitourinary cancers.

Supportive Care
The genitourinary multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that bladder cancer patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include: