By Dr. Suresh Kumar Bhagat, Urology
The bladder is the organ which holds the urine before it is drained out of the body. This organ is a balloon shaped organ which is located in the pelvic area. Like most forms of cancer, bladder cancer also starts off with the cells within the organ start mutating and not dying resulting in the buildup of abnormal cells.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer:
1. Haematuria or the presence of blood in the urine – This is one of the most common symptoms of bladder cancer. The urine may vary in color from light to dark red although clear urine can also have blood which can only be detected under a microscope.
2. Frequent and painful urination – Changes in the usual pattern of urination along with other symptoms may be signs of bladder cancer. Some of these are:
a) Very frequent urination
b) Having a very weak stream during urination
c) The urge to urinate even when the bladder is not full
d) Painful or burning sensation while urinating
Although these symptoms are common with urinary tract infections, they may also be signs of bladder cancer and it is best for you to go to your doctor to get it checked.
Other Symptoms – Some of the other symptoms may include:
I. Back or pelvic pain in the area surrounding the bladder
II. Being tired or weak without an apparent reason
III. Feet swelling up
IV. Painful bones in some cases
V. Inability to urinate in some cases
Causes of Bladder Cancer:
Bladder Cancer is primarily of three types and their causes differ. They are:
1. Transitional Cell Carcinoma – This is the most common type of bladder cancer and is primarily caused by lifestyle problems such as smoking, radiation or chemical exposure.
2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This is a form of cancer that occurs as a reaction to a parasitic infection within the body.
3. Adenocarcinoma – A rare form of bladder cancer, this is also caused by radiation or chemical exposure.