Bladder cancer is a type of urinary tract cancer that originates in the bladder, an organ that stores urine and is located in the pelvic area. It can include transitional cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma.
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Detection and diagnosis of bladder cancer may include:
- Physical exam or an internal exam of rectum (and vagina, in women) to check for possible lumps.
- Urinalysis to screen the urine for any abnormalities.
- Urine cytology to screen the urine for any presence of abnormal cells.
- Cystocopy to examine the bladder and urethra.
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP), which is a special series of X-rays to help physicians see any suspicious growths.
- Biopsy to remove a small tissue sample of the bladder for examination.
Treatment options for bladder cancer may include:
- Transurethral resection with fulguration, in which high-energy electricity is used to destroy tumors, which are located in the bladder by a physician using a cystoscope inserted into the patient’s urethra.
- Cystectomy, which is the removal of the bladder. A cystectomy can be a partial removal of the bladder or a complete bladder removal along with nearby organs and tissues, including the uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina in women, and the prostate and seminal vesicles in men.
- Urinary diversion procedure, in which urine is rerouted to exit the body through the patient’s colon or through a small opening in the abdomen and into an external bag.
Chemotherapy can be provided as part of a bladder cancer treatment alone or in combination with surgery or radiation therapy, depending on the extent of the cancer.
Biologic therapy, such as BSG (bacillus Calmette-Guérin), is designed to use the body’s immune system to fight cancer and can be part of a bladder cancer treatment plan. BSG is administered directly into the bladder through a catheter.