Bladder cancer affects the bladder – which is the hollow organ that connects to the kidneys, is responsible for collecting and storing urine, and is located in the lower pelvis (or abdominal region). According to the Mayo Clinic, bladder cancer is one of the more prevalent types of cancer, striking roughly 68,000 American adults. Although bladder cancer can develop at any age, it’s about 3 to 4 times more likely in older male patients.
How does Bladder Cancer develop?
Cancer of the bladder most typically develops in the cells that line the inner walls of the bladder, which are referred to as the urothelial cells. Bladder cancer occurs when cells grow abnormally (or undergo a malignant change) and multiply into a mass of cancerous cells (or a malignant tumor); which can spread, or metastasize, in adjacent areas of the body or via the lymphatic system (tissue fluid circulation), and also via the bloodstream where they can become destructive in other bodily organs (i.e., the lungs). Luckily, most cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed within the early stage, which means they’re very treatable.
What are the 3 most common forms of Bladder Cancer?
- Urothelial carcinoma
The most prevalent type of bladder cancer (roughly 90-percent of all bladder cancers in America) is urothelial carcinoma; which strikes the transitional cells of the urothelium, or innermost lining of the bladder wall, causing abnormal cell growth.
This second type of bladder cancer strikes between 1- and 2-percent of all bladder cancer patients in the U.S. Adenocarcinoma causes cancer to develop in the glandular cells of the bladder. These glands produce and excrete mucus and other fluids.
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is diagnosed in approximately 8-percent of all bladder cancer patients. This type of cancer of the bladder develops in flat masses of interconnected cells and is believed to result from long-term irritation and inflammation of the bladder.