How fast does bladder cancer spread

bladder cancer

How fast does bladder cancer spread

The bladder is the organ in the body that holds urine. Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that affects the tissue of the bladder. Symptoms of bladder cancer can include blood in urine, painful urination, frequent urination, urgent urination, urinary incontinence, and pain in the abdominal and/or lower back area. There are three types of bladder cancer; transitional cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma. 

Transitional cell carcinoma (also called urothelial bladder cancer) is the most common form of bladder cancer, beginning in the transitional cells (also called urothelial cells) found in the inner layer of the bladder. Squamous cell carcinoma is a rarer type of cancer and begins when thin, flat squamous cells form in the bladder. This often happens after a long-term infection or irritation in the bladder. Adenocarcinoma is another rare cancer, beginning when glandular cells form in the bladder following a long-term bladder irritation or infection. Bladder cancer will often spread at different speeds depending on the type of cancer you have. 

Types of bladder cancer and how fast they spread

Urothelial bladder cancer is one of the most common types of bladder cancer, with around 90% of all bladder cancer being this type. Urothelial bladder cancer is slow to spread, which means that treatment is often very effective. Adenocarcinoma accounts for only around 1 per cent of bladder cancer. However, this type can spread very quickly and is quite invasive. Squamous cell carcinoma makes up about 1 to 2 per cent of all bladder cancer cases and similarly, these cancers can spread and grow rather quickly. Not all bladder cancers spread throughout the body. If caught early, bladder cancer can be treated before it spreads. Even if bladder cancer has spread, it is still curable. 

The first place that bladder cancer spreads to is into the bladder wall. With four layers that make up the bladder wall, as cancer spreads, it grows into each layer. The cancer can then spread beyond the bladder wall into a number of other locations which include the pelvic lymph nodes, abdominal lymph nodes, liver, lungs and bones. 

There are many treatment options. Surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy can all be used to help treat bladder cancer once it has spread. However, the treatment options and outcomes are a lot more positive when bladder cancer is treated before it spreads. This is why it is incredibly important for you to keep an eye out for any of the possible symptoms of bladder cancer. The sooner you get diagnosed, the better chances of success your treatment will have. 

Treatment options

Treatment options often depend on the type of cancer you have and how far the bladder cancer has spread. Often for early-stage tumours, surgery can be performed. However, once the cancer spreads, doctors can opt to do a radical cystectomy. This can also be done for high-grade and large-volume bladder tumours even if they have not yet spread, but seem likely to. A radical cystectomy is when the entire bladder is removed, along with some of the surrounding organs in the pelvic region. Depending on your anatomy, this can include the prostate, seminal vesicles, uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina. This procedure is also performed alongside a urinary diversion, which allows those who have a radical cystectomy procedure to urinate. 

In addition to surgery, there are other treatments that are also done depending on how far the cancer has spread. This can include chemotherapy which can help destroy cancer that has spread, radiation therapy which kills cancer cells and shrinks tumours, immunotherapy which helps to teach your immune system to attack cancer cells and targeted therapy which identifies how cancer cells are genetically distinct from healthy cells so that your body can find and destroy them. 

However, in most cases, doctors do take care to try and preserve as much of the bladder as possible and avoid performing a radical cystectomy. This treatment will often involve a surgical procedure to remove the primary tumour and surrounding tissue, followed up with the other available treatment options like chemotherapy and radiation to prevent further spread. 

In most cases, treatment will slow and stop the spread of bladder cancer, however, if the bladder cancer is aggressive and advanced, it can actually be treatment resistant. This means that it could still grow while you are undergoing treatment. However, the overall survival rates for bladder cancer are quite positive, so as long as you seek treatment as soon as possible, you should be able to treat the disease well. 

Seek Out Advanced Urology For Bladder Cancer In Singapore

If you are experiencing worrying urinary symptoms, Advance Urology is a private practice in Singapore with a team of 6 highly experienced urologists. They are the largest group of urology specialists, with each member of the team being an expert in their individual subspecialty. With clinics located in the 6 major private hospitals across Singapore, you can easily access their services. With their professional and comprehensive services, they are able to provide accurate diagnoses along with evidence-based treatment plans for bladder cancer in Singapore or any other urinary system-related issues. 

Contact them now for a consultation!

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