The bladder cancer is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen. Its function is to store urine produced by the kidneys.
Cancer of the bladder is caused by the abnormal proliferation of cells of the bladder wall. The wall consists of several layers. The vast majority of these tumors are formed in the surface layer that lines the inside of the bladder and are detected before invading muscular layers that surround the affected organ.
The bladder tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors, noncancerous, can be removed and not life threatening. Malignant cancerous tumors, must be treated before they spread around the affected area or the rest of the body.
With estimated 7100 new cases in 2010 to Canada, bladder cancer is the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada. It usually occurs in people aged 60 and over.
There are 4 main types of cancers (malignant tumors) of the bladder:
The transitional cell carcinoma, also called urothelial carcinoma, represents 90% of cases of bladder cancer. It is formed in the transitional cells that line the inside of the bladder and which form the mucosa. In most cases, the tumor remains in the surface layer of the bladder and cancer is known as “superficial”. However, if the tumor infiltrates deeper into the bladder and reaches the muscle layer, it is called cancer “infiltrating”;
The squamous cell carcinoma (or squamous cell) (6%);
Undifferentiated carcinoma (<1%).
All types of bladder cancer can spread to the bladder muscles, then to nearby organs or spread elsewhere in the body (lymph nodes, liver, lungs, bone) by blood and metastasize.
The bladder cancer has a high recurrence rate, which means that after treatment, once destroyed the tumor, the patient should be monitored and undergo regular screening tests for many years.
The risk of recurrence and prognosis are influenced by several factors, including the type of tumor, its stage of development and size.