What is bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer is a disease that begins when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow out of control. With time these abnormal cells tend to form a tumor and spread to other parts of the body.
The bladder is seated in the lower pelvis and has flexible, muscular walls that can stretch to hold urine and squeeze to send it out of the body. The primary function of the bladder is to store urine, a liquid waste that’s made by the two kidneys and then carried to the bladder through two tubes called ureters.
Basically, the wall of the bladder has several layers, and each layer is made up of different kinds of cells. Most bladder cancers start in the urothelium, the innermost lining of the bladder. It is also called as the transitional epithelium.
As cancer spreads to the other layers in the bladder wall, it becomes more advanced, and therefore, gets difficult to treat. Over time, it may even spread to the bones, nearby organs or lymph nodes.
What causes bladder cancer?
As of now there is no exact cause of bladder cancer known yet, but it is said to be a result of mutations or changes in cell’s DNA.
Also, there are certain risk factors such as smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes that increase an individual’s chance of developing bladder cancer. Infact, smoking is believed to causes half of all bladder cancers in men and women.
Among other bladder cancer risk factors that raise the risk of developing the condition, the common ones include:
- Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic and chemicals used in the manufacture of dyes, rubber, leather, textiles and paint products.
- Chronic bladder or urinary infections
- Low fluid consumption
- Being male as men are more likely to develop the disease
- Being over the age of 55 years
- Eating a high-fat diet
- Having a family history of bladder cancer
- Any previous treatment with a drug called Cytoxan