Like tumors in other parts of the body, bladder tumors can be benign and malignant. Both types of tumors develop from the cells in the mucosa (of the bladder), which produce tumor or neoplasm (or, in some cases, more than one) that enters the bladder, i.e. a place where the urine is deposited.
In addition, malignant (cancerous) tumors spread to the bladder wall and can be spread to other parts of the body. If a tumor develops not far from the place where the ureter enters the bladder, a tumor (benign or malignant) can clog the flow of urine from the kidneys, urine will accumulate in the kidney and the kidney will swell; this condition is known as hydronephrosis. The swelling causes damage to kidney and makes it susceptible to infection (see acute pyelonephritis article).
The characteristic symptom of bladder tumor is blood in urine (hematuria). The urination is usually not painful, although the patient may feel that the urine is ”burning”; additionally, the patient often ejects small amounts of urine at short intervals. If a patient has hydronephrosis, he may feel the pain in the loin. In addition, since the tumor is particularly susceptible to infection, cystitis (bladder inflammation) is also possible.
Bladder tumors are not common. Bladder cancers account for about 3% of all registered cancer cases; about 75% of diseased are men. Disease is most common among men who have passed fifty.
All benign tumors, and many small malignant tumors, react well to therapy. However, sometimes the cancerous cells can be expanded (metastasized) to other parts of the body. In that case, prospects for successful treatment are bad.
What to do?
If you notice a blood in the urine, be sure to contact your doctor. Your doctor will take your urine and blood samples for analysis, and you will need to perform additional tests, such as cystoscopy and intravenous pyelogram (IVP) or cystography, depending on the results of your analysis. If the tumor is discovered, the doctor will take a sample to determine if a tumor is benign or malignant.
Regardless of the type of bladder tumor, the doctor will usually try to burn it with a special probe (electrode) attached to the cystoscope (the procedure is called fulguration or electrocoagulation diathermy).
The surgeon monitors the bladder through the cystoscope and manipulates the probe to destroy tumor cells. This usually solves the problem, but you will have to go on a regular examinations every six months (for at least three years) to check that the tumor has not been re-developed.
If the tumor has affected a large part of the bladder, an abdominal surgery will be required. In severe cases, the entire bladder will need to be removed, and then the urinary tract connects to a special opening in the abdominal wall. The urine will then leak into a pouch (”external urinary bladder”) that should be emptied approximately every day. The procedure is effective, and the pouch that the patient has to carry is not noticeable. After the surgery, any remaining abnormal cells can be destroyed with radiotherapy.