Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the bladder, the organ responsible for storing urine. It is one of the most common types, with most cases occurring in older adults. Early diagnosis and proper staging are crucial for determining the most appropriate treatment approach. And you can look for a cancer hospital in Delhi. This article explores the diagnosis, staging, and treatment approaches.
Diagnosing this condition typically involves a combination of medical history evaluation, physical examination, and various tests and procedures. One of the primary symptoms is blood in the urine, also known as hematuria. Other symptoms may include frequent urination, pain or burning during urination, and lower back pain. A healthcare professional will likely recommend further investigation if these symptoms are present.
The first step in diagnosing is usually a urine test that inspects the presence of cells or other abnormalities. If blood is detected in the urine, additional tests are necessary. Cystoscopy, a procedure in which a tube with a camera is inserted into the bladder, allows the doctor to visually examine the lining and collect tissue samples for biopsy. Imaging tests, like computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be performed to determine the extent and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
The staging process is a crucial step in determining the extent and spread of the disease. It helps guide treatment decisions, predict patient prognosis, and facilitate effective communication among healthcare professionals. The most commonly used staging system is the TNM system, which assesses the primary tumor (T), lymph node involvement (N), and distant metastasis (M).
Tumor Stage (T): This stage evaluates the size and invasiveness of the primary tumor in the bladder. The following stages are used to classify this condition:
- Ta: It represents non-invasive papillary carcinoma, which is confined to the bladder lining (epithelium) and does not invade the underlying connective tissue.
- Tis: Carcinoma in situ (CIS) refers to flat, high-grade, non-invasive cells found on the lining. Although CIS does not invade the underlying layers, it has a higher chance of progressing to invasive cancer.
- T1: It invades the subepithelial connective tissue of the bladder but does not reach the muscle layer.
- T2: It invades the muscle layer of the bladder. T2 is further divided into T2a (invasion of the inner half) and T2b (invasion of the outer half) based on the depth of invasion.
- T3: It extends beyond the muscle layer into the fatty tissue surrounding the bladder. T3 is also divided into T3a (spread to the perivesical fat) and T3b (spread to the prostate, uterus, or pelvic wall).
- T4: It invades adjacent organs, such as the uterus, prostate, vagina, pelvic wall, or abdominal wall.
Lymph Node Involvement (N): The lymph node involvement stage assesses the presence or absence of this disease spread to the regional lymph nodes. The following stages are used:
- N0: No regional lymph node involvement.
- N1: This disease has spread to a single lymph node in the pelvis.
- N2: It has spread to multiple lymph nodes in the pelvis.
- N3: It has spread to lymph nodes outside the pelvis, such as those in the abdomen or groin.
Distant Metastasis (M): The distant metastasis stage evaluates whether it has spread to distant organs or tissues. The following stages are used:
- M0: No evidence of distant metastasis.
- M1: It has spread to distant organs, such as the liver, lungs, bones, or other distant sites.
Staging may also incorporate additional information, such as the grade of the tumor (determining its aggressiveness) and the presence of certain biomarkers or genetic mutations. The staging process typically involves a combination of imaging tests and pathological evaluation. Imaging tests, like ultrasound, CT scans, and MRI, help assess the extent of lymph node involvement and the presence of distant metastasis. These tests provide valuable information about tumor size, location, and spread to aid in staging.
The treatment approach depends on several factors, including the cancer stage, the tumor grade, overall health, and personal preferences. The main treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy. In some cases, a combination of these approaches may be used.
Surgery is often the primary treatment. TURBT (Transurethral resection of bladder tumor) is a common surgical procedure used to remove early-stage tumors. In more advanced cases, a radical cystectomy may be performed, which involves removing the entire bladder, nearby lymph nodes, and, in some cases, other organs such as the prostate or uterus.
Chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery to shrink tumors or to kill remaining cells. You can look for the best cancer hospital in Delhi for excellent treatment. It can be administered into the bladder (intravesical chemotherapy) or through the bloodstream (systemic chemotherapy). Immunotherapy, such as Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) treatment, stimulates the immune system to fight these cells. It is commonly used to prevent recurrence or progression.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cells. It may be employed as the primary treatment for individuals who cannot undergo surgery or as adjuvant therapy following surgery. External beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy are the two main types used in this treatment.
In recent years, targeted therapies and immunotherapies have emerged as promising approaches for advanced or metastatic disease. These treatments specifically target cells or the immune system’s response to this condition. Examples include immune checkpoint inhibitors like pembrolizumab and atezolizumab, which have shown significant benefits in some patients with advanced cancer.
Diagnosis and staging are essential for determining the most suitable treatment approach. Advances in medical technology and research have improved the accuracy of diagnosis and provided more effective treatment options giving hope to patients and medical professionals from a cancer hospital in Delhi. With appropriate treatment, the prognosis for patients continues to improve, offering hope for better outcomes and quality of life. If you experience any symptoms or have concerns, it is crucial to consult with a professional promptly.