Blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. In fact, most patients diagnosed with bladder cancer visit their doctor with a complaint of dark urine or a significant amount of blood in the urine, usually without any pain.
Other symptoms of bladder cancer include:
Finding blood in urine is not conclusive of bladder cancer as it may occur in many other conditions. So, if you notice darker, discoloured urine or see blood in urine, visit your doctor immediately.
A routine urine test acts as a screening test for bladder cancer. Further tests that help confirm a diagnosis of bladder cancer include cystoscopy (a cystoscope is inserted into the urethra to visualise inside the bladder), urine cytology and a biopsy. Imaging tests may also be advised to help determine the tumour’s location. These diagnostic tests give your oncologist an idea about how to treat bladder cancer.
Once bladder cancer has been diagnosed, it is classified based on the appearance of cells during microscopic analysis and the extent of their spread. Based on where cancer originated, bladder cancer can be of three types:
Based on the extent of spread, bladder cancer can be of three types:
Bladder cancer treatment options depend upon the type and origin of cancer, the extent of its spread, the patient’s age, and overall health. Non-muscle-invasive cancers are usually treated surgically, during which the entire cancerous portion is removed, leaving the bladder intact. In muscle-invasive bladder cancer, the whole bladder may be removed to prevent the spread or recurrence of the tumour.
Localised chemotherapy may be given to treat localised bladder cancers with a high chance of recurrence. Systemic chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy are used as an adjuvant after surgery or in cases where surgery is not possible or practical.