Bladder cancer occurs in the tissues of the bladder, which is a hollow organ in the lower part of the abdomen that stores urine until it is passed out of the body. There are several different types of bladder cancer, which include:
*Transitional cell carcinoma:
Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer. It begins in the transitional cells in the inner layer of the bladder. Transitional cells are cells that change shape without becoming damaged when the tissue is stretched.
*Squamous cell carcinoma:
Squamous cell carcinoma is a rare cancer in the United States. It begins when thin, flat squamous cells form in the bladder after a long-term infection or irritation in the bladder.
Adenocarcinoma is also a rare cancer in the United States. It begins when glandular cells form in the bladder after long-term bladder irritation and inflammation. Glandular cells are what make up the mucus-secreting glands in the body.
According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 45,000 men and 17,000 women per year are diagnosed with the disease.
How long will one with bladder cancer lives? This depends on when the cancer was caught, or, more specifically, at what stage and grade it is diagnosed. When bladder cancer is diagnosed at an early stage (more on the stages below), there is a high probability that it can be overcome. Research suggests that as of the year 2013, more than 77 percent of people with bladder cancer will live at least five years past their diagnosis.
Many people with bladder cancer can have blood in their urine but no pain while urinating. There are a number of symptoms that might indicate bladder cancer like fatigue, weight loss, and bone tenderness, and these can indicate more advanced disease. One should pay particular attention to the following symptoms:
*Blood in the urine
*Pain in the abdominal area
*Pain in the lower back
Advanced bladder cancer symptoms can include those above, plus:
*Pelvic pain, and/or sometimes lower back and abdominal pain.
*Frequent urination due to an overactive bladder. One might feel like he or she needs to urinate all of a sudden and urgently or have a hard time controlling the bladder or engaging the muscles in the pelvis.
*Being unable to urinate or control your “stream.”
*Nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss.
*Feeling tired or weak.
*Swelling in the feet.
*Aches and bone pain.
It’s possible for bladder cancer symptoms and signs in females to be somewhat different than in males. Bladder cancer symptoms in men can affect the prostate, a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and penis in males that releases prostatic fluid and helps with the release of urine. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common malignancy diagnosed in American men and almost three times more common in men than in in women. (4) Men with bladder cancer usually experience some blood in their urine, urinary burning, increased urgency, and/or increased frequency. Women can have many of the same bladder cancer symptoms. In both sexes it’s common for these bladder cancer symptoms to be attributed to other conditions like urinary tract infections (UTIs), but if they keep returning it’s important to visit a doctor
The exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown. It develops when cells in the bladder grow abnormally, develop mutations and form tumors. It’s not always known why this happens in some people, especially if they don’t have any obvious risk factors or a family history. There are many possible root causes of cancer, including various combinations of genetic and environmental factors.
People who have an increased risk of bladder cancer include those who:
*Are over the age of 40, since your risk increases as you get older. About 9 out of 10 people with bladder cancer are older than 55.
*Are males, who develop bladder cancer much more often than females do.
*Have had cancer in the past, especially cancer affecting the urinary tract.
*Smoke or use tobacco products. Cigarette smoking is considered one of the most important causes of bladder cancer since it causes toxins to travel to the kidneys and into the urine where they are exposed to the bladder lining.
*Are Caucasian/whites. People who are white have about twice the chance of developing bladder cancer as African Americans and Hispanics.
*Are exposed to certain chemicals and toxins that can damage your kidneys, such as due to exposure at work or through environmental pollution. Chemicals linked to bladder cancer include arsenic, benzidine and beta-naphthylamine and chemicals used in the manufacture of dyes, rubber, leather, textiles and paint products.
*According to the American Cancer Society, “workers with an increased risk of developing bladder cancer include painters, machinists, printers, hairdressers (probably because of heavy exposure to hair dyes), and truck drivers (likely because of exposure to diesel fumes).” (5) Arsenic can be found in some contaminated tap water, although this only happens rarely in industrialized nations.
*Have a history of chronic bladder infections or irritation of the lining of the bladder, such as from long-term use of a urinary catheter. The bladder can become irritated from urinary tract infections, kidney stones or prostate infection.
*Have a family history of cancer, especially of hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, also called Lynch syndrome. People with a genetic mutation of the retinoblastoma (RB1) gene, or Cowden disease, are also at an increased risk.
*Have had radiation exposure or prior chemotherapy.
*Have had parasitic infections. For example, the parasitic infection called schistosomiasis (also known as bilharziasis), which mainly affects people living or visiting Africa and the Middle East, can increase bladder cancer risk.
*Have a rare birth defect that affects the urinary tract and bladder, including those called exstrophy or urachus.
*Have taken diabetes medication called pioglitazone (Actos) for more than one year.
Fortunately, bladder cancer is often diagnosed at an early stage, which means there is a higher likelihood of recovery. According to the Mayo Clinic, “About seven out of every 10 bladder cancers diagnosed start out at an early stage — when bladder cancer is highly treatable.”
To make a bladder cancer diagnosis, the doctor will likely perform several tests, including a urine analysis and urine cytology. Blood in your urine might not be visible when you go to the bathroom, but can sometimes still be detected during a microscopic exam of the urine. The doctor will also look for chromosome changes, antigens and proteins called NMP22 in your urine.
Bladder Cancer Staging:
The stage or grade of cancer that someone has refers to how much their cancer has progressed and/or spread throughout their body. “Staging” describes where the cancer is located and whether or not it has spread to parts of the body such as the lymph nodes. The purpose of cancer staging is to help determine what kind of treatment should be most effective. Most doctors determine a patient’s cancer stage using the TNM system (which stands for tumor, node, metastasis), which describes the presence of primary tumors, their location, and if they have metastasized. There are four bladder cancer stages that someone can be diagnosed with:
*.Stage 0a or 0b: This is an early stage when the cancer is on the inner lining of the bladder but has not invaded the muscle or connective tissue.
*.Stage I: The cancer has grown through the inner lining of the bladder into the lamina propria (a loose layer of connective tissue under the basement membrane lining of the epithelium).
*Stage II: The cancer has spread into the thick muscle wall of the bladder, but not the lymph nodes or other organs.
*Stage III: The cancer has spread throughout the muscle wall to the fatty layer of tissue surrounding the bladder.
*Stage IV: The tumor has spread to the pelvic wall or the abdominal wall, possibly to one or more regional lymph nodes, and potentially to other parts of the body.
*Bladder cancer can also be described using grades:
*Papilloma — May recur but has a low risk of progressing.
*Low grade — More likely to recur and progress.
*High grade — Most likely to recur and progress.
The doctor will work with the patient to decide what treatment to provide based on the type and stage of the patient’s bladder cancer, the symptoms, and overall health.
Treatment for stage 0 and stage 1:
Treatment for stage 0 and stage 1 bladder cancer may include surgery to remove the tumor from the bladder, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy, which involves taking a medication that causes your immune system to attack the cancer cells.
Treatment for stage 2 and stage 3
Treatment for stage 2 and stage 3 bladder cancer may include:
*Removal of part of the bladder in addition to chemotherapy
*Removal of the whole bladder, which is a radical cystectomy, followed by surgery to create a new way for urine to exit the body
*Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy that can be done to shrink the tumor before surgery, to treat the cancer when surgery isn’t an option, to kill remaining cancer cells after surgery, or to prevent the cancer from recurring
Treatment for stage 4 bladder cancer:
Treatment for stage 4 bladder cancer may include:
*Chemotherapy without surgery to relieve symptoms and extend life
*Radical cystectomy and removal of the surrounding lymph nodes, followed by a surgery to create a new way for urine to exit the body
*Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy after surgery to kill remaining cancer cells or to relieve symptoms and extend life
*Clinical trial drugs.
Natural Ways to Help Ease Bladder Cancer Treatment
Bladder cancer treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation, usually cause side effects that can be very uncomfortable for a period of time. For example, side effects from radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery may include: fatigue, mild skin reactions, loose bowel movements, loss of appetite, nausea, depression, weight loss, pelvic or abdominal pain, bladder irritation, the need to pass urine frequently, and bleeding from the bladder or rectum. Below are some natural ways to help manage these symptoms and support.
1. Rest & Get Plenty of Sleep:
While the body works hard to overcome cancer and adjust to treatments it’s common to feel fatigued, weak and sometimes even depressed. The patient likely won’t have energy to exercise while he or she recovers, but if one feels up to it one can stay active in a gentle way by walking, stretching and possibly doing low-impact exercises like slow yoga or swimming. Plenty of sleep is needed to help provide the body with energy (seven to nine hours or more per night).
2. Eat A Nutrient-Dense Diet:
*All types of leafy green veggies and other dark green vegetables. Greens and cruciferous vegetables are known to be powerful cancer killers and some of the best vitamin C foods.
*Berries (blueberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, goji berries, camu camu and blackberries), kiwi, citrus fruits, melon, mangoes and pineapple. Orange and yellow-colored plant foods (like sweet potatoes, berries, pumpkin, squashes and other plant foods) are especially good choices since they provide carotenoids, essential nutrients for immune functioning and detoxification.
Organic meats, wild-caught fish, eggs and raw/fermented dairy products, which provide protein and nutrients like selenium, zinc and B vitamins.
*Healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, and avocados.
*Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, chia and flax seeds.
*Complex carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, other tubers and whole-grain foods. These can help give you energy and lift serotonin levels, which are helpful for sleep and relaxation.
*Fresh herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, raw garlic, thyme, cayenne pepper, oregano, basil, rosemary, cinnamon and parsley.
Bone broth, fresh vegetable juices, and herbal infusions which provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
3. Drink Enough Water to Stay Hydrated.
Aside from quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet, studies suggest that enough fluid consumption seems to be important for protecting your bladder and urinary tract. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, aim to drink one to two liters of water per day to help ease bladder cancer symptoms. Have a glass of water at least every two to three hours or whenever you feel thirsty. Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption, which have diuretic effects and can irritate the urinary tract
4. Reduce Nausea:
*Drink ginger tea or apply ginger essential oil over your chest or abdomen. To make your own ginger tea, cut ginger root into slices and place them into a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.
*Take a supplement containing vitamin B6.
*Make a belly-calming beverage using chamomile tea and lemon juice.
*Inhale peppermint essential oil or rub it into your neck and chest.
*Get some fresh air, open a window and take a walk outside.
*Try alternative therapies like meditation and acupuncture.
*Eat smaller meals spread throughout the day. Sit up for about an hour after eating to relieve any pressure on the stomach. Try to eat at least three hours before bed to help you digest
5. Practice Relaxation Techniques:
*Practice yoga, meditation and breathing exercises.
*Spend time outside, and try to get some sunlight exposure to boost vitamin D levels.
*Take adaptogenic herbs to support your nervous system.
*Seek out emotional support from family, friends or a support group.
*Stay hopeful by praying or joining a faith-based community.
*Unwind by using essential oils like lavender, chamomile or holy basil.
*Take an Epsom salt bath before bed to relax muscular tension.
6. Frankincense Oil:
I highly recommend using Frankincense (Boswellia serrata) oil internally or topically since research suggests it acts as a potential natural treatment for cancer. Frankincense oil is prepared from aromatic resins found naturally in Boswellia trees. The main cancer-fighting component of frankincense oil is boswellic acid, which is known to have anti-neoplastic properties.
The outlook depends on a lot of variables, including the type and stage of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rates by stage are the following:
The five-year survival rate for people with stage 0 bladder cancer is around 98 percent.
The five-year survival rate for people with stage 1 bladder cancer is around 88 percent.
The five-year survival rate for people with stage 2 bladder cancer is around 63 percent.
The five-year survival rate for people with stage 3 bladder cancer is around 46 percent.
The five-year survival rate for people with stage 4 bladder cancer is around 15 percent.
There are treatments available for all stages. Also, survival rates don’t always tell the whole story and can’t predict the future.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.