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When cancer forms in the bladder or urinary tract it is labeled as bladder cancer. Unfortunately it is one of the highest recurring cancers due to the fact that the disease often isn’t limited to just one spot in the bladder but rather forms in different areas of the organ. It is the fourth most common cancer for men, who are also four times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than women.
At Arizona Oncology, we categorize bladder cancer in two ways: where the disease begins and whether or not it has invaded the muscle tissue. These categorizations play a significant role in determining the course of treatment for your diagnosis.
Three types of bladder cancer (where it begins):
• Transitional cell carcinoma: Cancer that begins in cells in the innermost tissue layer of the bladder. These cells are able to stretch when the bladder is full and shrink when it is emptied. Most bladder cancers begin in the transitional cells. Close to 90% of bladder cancers fall into this bucket.
• Squamous cell carcinoma: Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that may form in the bladder after long-term infection or irritation.
• Adenocarcinoma: Cancer that begins in glandular (secretory) cells that may form in the bladder after long-term irritation and inflammation.
Two distinctions of bladder cancer:
• Superficial (non muscle-invasive bladder cancer) If you are diagnosed at an early stage, chances are this is the form your cancer will take. It means the cancer has not spread to the surrounding muscles and has a variety of treatment options.
• Invasive (muscle-invasive bladder cancer) As the name indicates, this type of bladder cancer has spread into the muscles around the bladder. While still treatable, the care options are usually more advanced.
Studies show us that the greatest risk for bladder cancer comes from smoking tobacco. Carcinogenic chemicals from cigarettes get absorbed into the blood stream and pass into the kidney where they deposit into urine and then permeate and infect the bladder. The good news is this type of cancer is often detected and diagnosed at an early stage. If you or a loved one has been given a recent bladder cancer diagnosis, let our comprehensive approach to cancer care guide you back to health.