What is urinary bladder cancer?
The bladder is a spherical muscular structure, its function is to store the urine produced by the kidneys before it is expelled through the urethra. It is comprised of three layers: an outer layer called the "serous layer", an intermediate layer made up of smooth muscle and an internal lining called the "mucosal layer", which is formed of transitional epithelium. The majority of bladder cancers originate in the latter.
Bladder cancer, or bladder carcinoma, is the fourth most common cancer among men and the tenth most common among women. The incidence is four times higher in men than in women, and twice as high in white people versus black people, with the average age of diagnosis being 65 years.
The most common cause of bladder cancer is tobacco, which is responsible for half of all cases.
It is essential to determine the degree to which the tumour has infiltrated the bladder wall, this enables the tumours to be classified as either non-invasive or invasive (affecting the bladder muscle).
Given that Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and urinary tract infections can present symptoms similar to those of bladder cancer, it is essential that you consult our team of urologists if you notice blood in your urine or a change in urinary frequency with associated pain in the absence of an infection.
Several tests may be required during the process of diagnosing bladder cancer, the most common and typically unavoidable are:
- Renal ultrasound
- Urine analysis (cytology)
- Flexible cystoscopy
Treatment of non-invasive bladder cancer
Treatment of invasive bladder cancer
If after performing a TURB the diagnosis is an invasive tumour, it will be necessary to broaden the scope of treatment. Whenever possible, the treatment of choice will be radical resection surgery (removal of the bladder, prostate and the pelvic area nodes) and reconstruction of the urinary system.
Our medical team has extensive experience of radical bladder surgery. Furthermore, at the Serrate & Ribal Institute of Urology we are able to provide a variety of surgical techniques:
In all cases where it is considered necessary, we coordinate our care with the Oncology Service to provide treatment that includes systemic or intravenous chemotherapy. Likewise, our Urology Department conducts a systematic follow-up of our patients because we consider it essential to control any potential recurrence of the tumour.