What is bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer is a cancer that starts in the innermost lining of the bladder.
The bladder is a balloon-like organ in the lower part of your abdomen that stores urine and releases it when you are ready. It is made up of a number of layers. The innermost layer lines the inside of the bladder and is known as transitional cell epithelium. The second layer is the connective tissue layer called the lamina propria and beneath this is the third layer which is the muscular layer of the bladder.
Most bladder cancers (8 out of 10) are confined to the first two bladder layers – transitional cell epithelium and lamina propria. These are known as non-muscle-invasive or superficial, tumours as they have not invaded the deeper muscular layer. A small number of patients (2 out of 10) will have a bladder cancer that involves the muscular layer. This is called muscle-invasive bladder cancer. The type of treatment recommended depends on whether the tumour is non-muscle invasive or muscle-invasive.
How common is bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer is common, with around 10,000 people diagnosed with this condition each year. It is the seventh most common cancer in the UK and the fourth most common cancer in men.
What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?
The most common symptom is the presence of blood in the urine. Other symptoms include recurrent urine infections, pain when passing urine or passing urine more frequently.
If you have any of these symptoms you should contact us.
Mr Malde offers fast track appointments for further investigation and treatment at his private urology clinics across London.
What causes bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer is rare in people under the age of 40 and becomes more common with increasing age. Things that can increase your chance of developing bladder cancer are:
- Chemicals at work. Jobs that involve working with certain chemicals have been linked to a higher risk of bladder cancer. Examples include hairdressing, rubber or plastics manufacturing, painters and mechanics
- Chronic bladder infections and irritation
- Having a history in the family of bladder cancer
- Previous radiotherapy treatment
- Previous schistosomiasis infection. This is a bladder infection caused by a parasite in certain hot countries
How can bladder cancer be diagnosed?
We will perform a number of tests to diagnose bladder cancer and work out what type of cancer it is (non-muscle-invasive or muscle-invasive). These include urine tests to look for cancerous cells, a CT or MRI scan to look at your kidneys and bladder and telescopic inspection of the inner lining of your bladder (cystoscopy). If there is a bladder tumour, we will recommend a procedure under general anaesthetic to remove the tumour. This will be performed through a cystoscope which is passed through your water pipe and into your bladder (transurethral resection of bladder tumour).
How can bladder cancer be treated?
After you have undergone the transurethral resection of bladder tumour procedure, we will discuss the best treatment options for you depending on your type of cancer, how aggressive it seems and how much it has spread.
If it is confined to the superficial inner layer of your bladder, we may recommend monitoring with a telescopic check (cystoscopy) of your bladder every few months. If the cells seem more aggressive, we may discuss a course of chemical instillations into your bladder to reduce the chances of the cancer cells re-forming or spreading deeper into the bladder wall.
If the tumour is found to be muscle-invasive we will discuss surgery to remove your whole bladder (cystectomy) with you. If you are not suitable for this form of major surgery, you may require radiotherapy treatment. Mr Malde will discuss all the options with you in detail at your consultation.
How we can help you
Mr Malde provides a rapid and thorough assessment for men and women suspected of having a bladder tumour.
This will involve urine tests to look for cancerous cells, state-of-the-art CT or MRI scans to look at your kidneys and bladder and telescopic inspection of the inner lining of your bladder (cystoscopy). If there is a bladder tumour, Mr Malde has specialist expertise in performing a procedure under general anaesthetic to remove the tumour. This will be performed through a cystoscope which is passed through your water pipe and into your bladder (transurethral resection of bladder tumour).
Mr Malde also performs a specialist procedure known as photodynamic diagnosis (blue light cystoscopy) to increase the chances of finding all the tumour cells in your bladder. He will discuss this with you at your consultation.
Mr Malde offers urgent and last-minute urology appointments at his specialist private clinics across London.