The Benefit of Routine Bladder Cancer Screenings

What is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells begin to grow in the cells that line the bladder. Screening tests are done to look for cancer when there are no signs or symptoms. Currently, there is no screening test available for bladder cancer. However, the symptoms of bladder cancer will be reviewed, and some tests might be ordered if bladder cancer is suspected.

Bladder cancer risk factors

The risk factors for the development of bladder cancer can include the following:

● Smoking cigarettes

● Exposure to certain chemicals, including those used in the businesses of making leather, paint products, and rubber

● Exposure to arsenic

● White race

● Male sex

● History of chronic urinary tract infections

● Family history of bladder cancer

● History of radiation to the pelvic area

● Long-term use of urinary catheters


Bladder cancer symptoms

The symptoms of bladder cancer include:

● Blood in the urine

● Frequent urination

● Pain with urination

● Unable to urinate

● Lower back pain

● Feeling very fatigued

● Weight loss and loss of appetite


If your healthcare provider is suspicious of bladder cancer or is ordering tests to evaluate any symptoms that are being experienced, the following are some tests they may order.

Urine tests can be done to look for the presence of blood or other abnormalities in the urine. A urine cytology test can be done to see if any cancer cells are present. A urine culture can be done to see if any bacteria are growing.

A cystoscopy can be done if bladder cancer is suspected. During this procedure, a thin camera is placed into the bladder through the urethra, the opening to the outside of the body through which urine passes. The urologist can look at the wall of the bladder to see if any cancer is present. If there are any suspicious areas, a biopsy can be taken to test for cancer cells.

Other imaging tests may also be done, most likely after the diagnosis of bladder cancer and the healthcare provider is looking for signs of cancer has spread to other areas of the body. These tests can include CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds.

It is important to be aware of the risk factors and symptoms associated with bladder cancer, as well as available screening options. Early detection is key to successful treatment, so please talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Together, we can help make a difference in the fight against bladder cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Staging

Colorectal cancer staging

The stage of the cancer describes how advanced the cancer is, from stage 0 (where it has not grown outside one of the layers of the colon wall) to stage IV (cancer has spread to other areas of the body). The cancer stage can help your oncologist develop the best treatment plan for you. 


Treatment for colorectal cancer 

Treatment is often classified into local therapy or systemic therapy. Local therapy means that it only treats the colon or rectum, and not any other parts of the body. Systemic therapy is treatment that goes around your entire body, treating cancer cells that may be present outside of the colon. A combination of local and systemic therapy may be given for CRC.. 


This article will focus on the local therapy options for Colorectal cancer- surgery and radiation. 


When CRC is at an early stage, surgery is often the choice for treatment. During surgery for CRC, a partial colectomy may be done. This surgery removes the affected part of the colon as well as some of the healthy colon around it. The other parts of the colon are then attached together. If the entire colon is removed, it is called a total colectomy.

When a colectomy is done, lymph nodes in the abdomen near the affected area of the colon are also removed to be tested for the presence of cancer cells. 

Depending upon the type of surgery that’s done, a temporary or permanent colostomy may be needed. This is a procedure that moves part of the colon out to the surface of the abdomen. As the contents of the intestines move through, instead of having a regular bowel movement, it leaves the body through the new abdominal opening, into a bag attached to the outside of the body. 

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high energy beams of x-rays to kill cancer cells. This is a treatment most often used for rectal cancer, and not as often for colon cancer. Sometimes it’s done before surgery, to help shrink the tumor so the surgeon has an easier time removing it. Radiation may also be done after surgery if the surgeon finds that the cancer was really difficult to remove and they aren’t confident that it was all removed. 

When given for rectal cancer, it is often given in combination with chemotherapy. Radiation treatments are typically done Monday through Friday for about 6 weeks.


Are you interested in learning more about colorectal cancer treatments? Check out our next article on this topic.


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