Organism of the human body (urinary bladder). 3D (Source: Shutterstock)
Bladder cancers are malignancies of the genitourinary system. Currently, around 20 people per 100,000 develop this. Age plays a major role as there are just 0.2 cases per 100,000 in people under 20, whereas there are more than 200 cases per 100,000 in people over 80.
Chronic inflammations (including parasite infections), tobacco use, the intake of certain chemical substances (e.g. aromatic amines and 2-naphthylamine) are considered the cause for the development of bladder cancer. Contact with such cancer-causing substances is possible in many professions and bladder cancer is recognized as an occupational disease. These include workers in the chemical, steel and leather industry, car mechanics, as well as dental technicians and hairdressers. Also radiotherapy, immune-suppressive drugs and artificial sweeteners can cause bladder cancer.
The classic symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine without any pain. This can be seen with the naked eye, or by the analysis of urine in the laboratory. The tumor may cause pain in rare cases where the urethra is blocked by clotted blood.
In advanced stages, urine retention or a kidney obstruction (when the tumor blocks the bladder’s entrance or exit) may be caused by a large tumor, and cause associated pain in the bladder or the flanks. If there are bone metastases, these are often discovered due to the pain caused by affected skeletal regions.
In early stages of this cancer the chances of a cure are good. However, where the disease is advanced with the presence of metastases, there is no causal cure possible.