What is the bladder?

The bladder is the hollow, muscular organ in the pelvis. The bladder stores urine before it leaves the body through the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body). Bladder walls have several layers with different types of cells.

What is bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer is a type of cancer in which abnormal cells begin to grow in the bladder. Bladder cancer usually starts in the inner lining of the bladder. Cancer that has only invaded this area is easiest to treat. This is called superficial, or non-invasive, bladder cancer. As cancer cells spread to other layers of the bladder or move outside the bladder to lymph nodes or other organs, it becomes much harder to treat.

What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?

Symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine and painful urination. If your urologist suspects you have bladder cancer, he or she will order tests such as a urinalysis, CT scan, and cystoscopy, which allows your urologist to see directly inside the bladder. If these tests confirm bladder cancer is present, the next step will be a biopsy of the tumor.

Who gets bladder cancer?

In 2016, more than 77,000 Americans will be diagnosed with bladder cancer. Men are almost 4 times more likely than women to be diagnosed. About 16,000 Americans will die of bladder cancer in 2016.

Who is a candidate for bladder tumor biopsy and resection?

Bladder tumor biopsy and resection, or a TURBT, is the first-line treatment for bladder cancer. The majority of people have bladder cancer that has not invaded the muscle wall when first diagnosed. Almost everyone diagnosed with bladder cancer will undergo bladder tumor biopsy and resection. TURBT is the procedure done to diagnose and to treat early stage bladder cancer at the same time.

Patients with more advanced bladder cancer, determined by the biopsy results and what the doctor sees during the TURBT procedure, will need other treatments, too. These include:

  • A more extensive TURBT.
  • Surgery to remove the tumor.
  • Surgery to remove the bladder.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation.
  • Bacillus Calmette-Guerin therapy or BCG (a type of therapy that uses the body’s immune system).

Your urologist and pathologist will determine the best course of treatment based on the staging of the tumor. TURBT can help in staging the cancer by determining if the cancer has invaded the bladder wall.

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