Bladder Cancer: Causes, Treatments and Recovery

Bladder cancer affects approximately 82,000 men and women in the United States each year. More than 90 percent of people who suffer from bladder cancer are above the age of 55, however, the average age people are diagnosed is 73.

What are the causes of bladder cancer?

While the exact cause of bladder cancer remains unknown, there are risk factors that may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer, including:

  • Smoking (smokers are three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers)
  • Bladder defects present at birth
  • Family or personal history of bladder cancer
  • Chronic bladder infections and/or irritations
  • Chronic dehydration

What are the treatment options for bladder cancer?

Initial treatment of bladder cancer is determined by the size and location of the tumor as well as how deep into the bladder wall it is has grown. Alpha Med Physicians Group offers skilled care to help control the pain and discomfort of bladder cancer at any stage of the disease. Here are the most common treatment options for men and women diagnosed with bladder cancer:

  • Surgery
    Surgery is an available option for all stages of the disease. A transurethral resection (TUR) is often used to treat stage 0 and I bladder cancer. During this procedure, a cytoscope is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder. This cytoscope has a wire loop at the end that removes small tumors and abnormal cells. It also removes any remaining cancerous cells. If the cancer is larger or has spread deeper, a cystectomy may be required. This procedure removes a portion of or the entire bladder as well as any surrounding lymph nodes, the prostate, seminal vesicles and the uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina. Reconstructive surgery will be required to give the body a new way to store and remove urine.
  • Chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy can be used to target and destroy cancer cells or to shrink tumors so they can be operated on using less invasive techniques. It can be used to treat cancer before or after surgery and the medication can be administered orally, intravenously or into the bladder through a catheter (following a TUR).
  • Immunotherapy
    Immunotherapy, or biological therapy, is often used in early stage cancers to activate the immune system. For this treatment, bacterium is inserted into the bladder to attract and stimulate immune system cells, which are then able to remove the bladder cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy
    Often used alongside chemotherapy, radiation therapy is used to remove cancer cells that have invaded the muscular wall of the bladder.

What is recovery like following bladder surgery?

TUR often results in mild side effects that do not usually last long. You may experience some bleeding and/or pain while urinating following the surgery. Most people can return home the same or next day and resume normal activities within one to two weeks.

If your condition requires a cystectomy, you may experience soreness in your lower abdomen, and will likely need pain medication for up to two weeks. It is also normal to notice some blood in your urine for approximately three weeks following a cystectomy.

Our cancer specialists are dedicated to helping you live your best life by providing experienced and effective bladder cancer treatment in Illinois. Call 708-342-1900 to schedule an appointment. Our physicians are highly skilled in the treatment of bladder cancer as well as satisfying each person’s unique medical needs.