With bladder cancer, cells in the lining of the bladder (transitional cells) begin to produce abnormal tissue growth which continues to multiply and eventually spread to other organs without treatment. The prostate, uterus, vagina, and urinary tract are usually the first organs to be affected by a metastasis (expanding) of these dangerous tumor-causing cells.
Risk Of Bladder Cancer Spreading Depends On Timing
Risk of metastasis and the chances of recovery from bladder cancer depend the stage the cancer is in at the time it’s detected. Stage 0 means that the tumor (or mass of cell growth) is not invasive and hasn’t spread past the lining of the bladder. Stage 1 denotes growth which is in the bladder lining, but isn’t yet in the layer of muscle in bladder. In stage 2 of bladder cancer, the cancerous cells ARE in the muscle of the layer, and in stage 3, the tumor goes past the bladder muscle and into neighboring organs. By stage 4, the patient is at the highest risk of death or serious health complications, as the cancer cells in the bladder have moved in to the lymph nodes and begin to metastasize in any other part of the body.
The prevalence of bladder cancer in the U.S. is about 53,000 men and 18,000 women per year.
Treatment Of Bladder Cancer Includes Total Bladder Removal
There are a number of treatment choices for those suffering from bladder cancer. For those with bladder cancer that is in stages 0 to 2, surgery which will remove the cell mass (but not the bladder itself) and preventative chemotherapy is generally the treatment of choice. Those who are diagnosed with stage 3 or stage 4 bladder cancer are usually recommended for chemotherapy and/ or radiation to shrink the tumor, followed by a radical cystectomy, in which the entire bladder is removed from the patient, then subsequent preventative surgery for some time after.
Cancer of the bladder can be caused by cigarette smoking, radiation treatment, exposure to chemicals at work, and as a side effect of chemotherapy. Sometimes, and especially in women, bladder cancer originates from frequently recurring bladder and urinary tract infections. An additional cause of bladder cancer is the drug Actos (or pioglitazone).
Actos is a medication that is frequently used as part of an exercise and diet program for the treatment of type-2 diabetes. On occasion, the drug is used to treat fatty liver disease. On June 15, 2011 the FDA announced that using Actos for one year or more could drastically raise ones chances of developing bladder cancer. As a result, Actos lawsuits are being filed nationwide.
Other potential Actos side effects, in addition to its increased risk of bladder cancer, include sore throat, dental problems, excessive weight gain, blurred vision, bone fractures, discolored urine, urgent need to urinate, painful urination, liver disease, and hypoglycemia (a dangerously low blood sugar level.)