Bladder cancer is a condition where there is an abnormal growth of tissues, also known as a tumor, in the bladder lining. The tumor can also develop in the bladder muscles in some cases. The most obvious symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. However, there is no pain experienced in this symptom.
Read on to know more about the types, stages, and treatments of bladder cancer:
1. Types of bladder cancer
During the diagnosis of bladder cancer, the type is identified and treatment is conducted according. Below are the three main types of bladder cancer:
- Transitional cell carcinoma
Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer. The condition affects the transitional cells in the inner layer of the bladder. These cells change the shape without causing any damage when the tissues are stretched.
It is a rare type of bladder cancer in the country. The condition develops when the glandular cells are formed in the bladder after inflammation and irritation in the bladder for a long time. Glandular cells are the mucus-secreting glands of the body.
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that is caused due to irritation and infection in the thin and flat squamous cells in the long run. These squamous cells are located in the bladder.
2. Stages of bladder cancer
The condition of bladder cancer is classified into stages based on how much cancer has spread. The stages of bladder cancer are classified according to the TNM system, in which:
- T stands on how far the tumor has spread into the bladder.
- N helps in determining whether cancer has spread into the nearby lymph nodes.
- M classified cancer into metastasis or not. In this stage, cancer spreads through other parts of the body.
Along with these stages, bladder cancer is graded using a number system, which determines how much cancer has spread. Cancer that is high graded is more likely to spread than that of the low graded ones. For instance:
- Stage 0: In this stage, cancer has grown into the center of the bladder. It has not spread into the muscles and tissues of the bladder wall itself. Chemotherapy or immunotherapy is used for the treatment of bladder cancer.
- Stage I: Cancer has grown through the inner linings of the bladder in this stage but has not grown through the muscles of the bladder wall. The treatment options are similar to those of stage I.
- Stage II and III: In stage II, cancer has outgrown through the inner lining of the bladder and not the muscle of the bladder wall. While in stage III, cancer has developed into the muscle layers of the bladder as well. This stage of cancer is treated by removing a part of the bladder, the entire bladder depending upon how much it has spread. Radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy is conducted to shrink the tumor before surgery.
- Stage IV: In this stage, cancer has metastasized and spread to the nearby lymph nodes, the pelvic or abdominal wall, or distant parts of the body (i.e., liver, lungs, or bones). The treatment of stage IV for bladder cancer includes chemotherapy to relieve the symptoms of the condition and extend life span, radical cystectomy for the removal of the surrounding lymph nodes along with surgery, and immunotherapy to kill the cancer cells.