Bladder cancer is a serious condition in which there is an abnormal growth of tissue in the bladder. This growth can spread to surrounding muscles and other tissues. If it is caught early, it can be treated.
The most common sign of bladder cancer is blood being noticeable in your urine. If you ever notice blood in your urine, or experience long-term pain, or severe pain when passing urine, you should definitely see a doctor so that the can investigate the cause.
Bladder cancer that is contained within the bladder is usually relatively easy to treat, and people tend to make a full recovery. However, if the cancer becomes ‘muscle invasive’ it has more chance of spreading to other organs, and this is where it tends to become harder to eradicate, and can become fatal.
This cancer is often caused by exposure to toxic chemicals. Cigarette smoke is one common cause, and others include the chemicals that used to be used in common manufacturing processes. The good news is that the chemicals which are now known to be carcinogenic have been banned, so there is less risk of younger people developing bladder cancer through occupational exposure to hazardous substances. The time between exposure to developing the cancer, however, can be decades, so older people may still be at risk.
Sometimes, it is necessary to remove the whole bladder to treat the cancer, and if this is done then doctors will either make a new bladder out of part of your bowel, or they will make an opening to fit a bag that will act as a bladder. This form of treatment is only used if it is not possible to remove only the cancerous part, leaving the rest of the bladder completely intact and fully functional.