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Bladder Cancer by Cameron Dielmann

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In the United States, one of the most commonly occurring forms of cancer is bladder cancer. It can be caused by a variety of factors and when it comes to distinguishing the severity and kind of bladder cancer, there are 3 main divisions and they are named by the type of cells that become cancerous. The first type of cancer, which occurs in the transitional cells of the bladder which allow it to stretch to fill with fluid from the kidneys is called transitional cell carcinoma. Transitional cell carcinoma is by far the most common type of bladder cancer, primarily because the bulk of the tissue of the bladder is comprised of transitional cells. The second type of bladder cancer is called Squamous cell carcinoma, this type of cancer is found in the Squamous cells of the bladder and it is most commonly associated with severe bladder irritation, such as that caused by frequent bladder infections. This type of cancer is less common than transitional cell carcinoma, and it shares many of the same triggers as the third type of cancer, Adenocarcinoma, which is cancer of the glandular cells and Squamous cell carcinoma and Adenocarcinoma are both most commonly associated with frequent infections and irritation of the bladder.  This is because the more damage and irritation that an organ is exposed to, the more likely the chance of the cells becoming cancerous, which is why these types of cancer are more frequently diagnosed in people who have suffered from frequent kidney stones and infections.

Irritation and internal factors are not the only determining factor for developing cancer. Another important factor is the exposure to carcinogens. Several risk factors can increase one’s chance of contracting cancer, the most commonly addressed risk factor is smoking, which although more commonly associated with lung cancer, also serves as a major contributor to bladder cancer because the carcinogens and chemicals that pass are introduced into the body by smoking enter the bloodstream through the lungs and are all eventually filtered out through the kidneys and bladder.

There are two major categories of bladder cancer which are based on how aggressive the cancer is with spreading throughout the bladder. The first is when the cancer remains confined to the bladder lining itself, this type of cancer is called superficial bladder cancer, and it is the most easily treated because it remains relatively isolated, and in severe cases, the bladder can be removed to prevent it from spreading to the surrounding muscle and tissue. Once cancer has spread beyond the lining of the bladder and into the surrounding muscle and lymph nodes around the bladder, it becomes categorized as “aggressive” and is much more difficult to treat. This is why one of the most important factors of bladder cancer survivability is early detection. Once cancer has spread to the lymph nodes it can easily metastasize and spring up throughout the body again even if treatment is successful.

Overall bladder cancer has relatively high survival rates, but becomes exponentially more difficult to treat the longer that it can develop. To prevent this it is important to immediately see a doctor at the first sign of any discomfort or change that is noted with urination. Bladder cancer’s survivability rates are highest in its earliest stages, and most patients who undergo successful treatments have had the cancer diagnosed early on in its progression.





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