Bladder cancer affects approximately 68,000 adults each year, making it one of the most common cancers in the United States. It starts when cells that make up the urinary bladder begin to grow abnormally. As it progresses, more cancer cells develop, form a tumor and spread to other parts of the body. Bladder cancer typically affects older adults and is often diagnosed early (while it is still treatable). It is also known to recur, so regular follow-up tests are highly recommended.
Early warning signs of bladder cancer
The most common early warning sign of bladder cancer is blood in your urine. There may be enough blood to change the color of the urine orange, pink or (less often) red. Other early warning signs include:
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Frequent urination
- Frequent urination at night
- Inability to urinate
- Lower back pain on one side of the body
Treatment options for bladder cancer
Depending on the state of the cancer and other factors (like medical history), treatment options may include:
Surgery is part of the treatment for most bladder cancers. Transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT) is the most common surgery for early-stage bladder cancer.
- Intravesical therapy
Intravesical therapy is commonly performed 24 hours after TURBT to treat noninvasive (stage 0) or minimally invasive (stage I) bladder cancers. This therapy kills any remaining cancer cells in the bladder.
Chemotherapy is commonly used for muscle-invasive bladder cancers in order to shrink cancer cells before surgery.
- Radiation therapy
External beam radiation is commonly used to treat bladder cancer. It is delivered to the body from a machine.
Immunotherapy is commonly used to reduce the risk of recurrence by stimulating an immune response that targets bacteria and any nearby bladder cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy
Balversa (erdafitinib) is the first FDA-approved targeted therapy for bladder cancer. It is an oral medication for those with more advanced bladder cancer.
If you or a loved one is experiencing early warning signs of bladder cancer, please seek medical attention as soon as possible. If treated early, bladder cancer is a highly curable form of cancer. Call Alpha Med Physicians Group at 708-928-5040 to speak to a specialist or schedule an appointment. We are proud to offer leading-edge cancer care in a safe and compassionate environment.