What is Bladder Cancer?
A bladder is a balloon-shaped organ in the lower abdomen meant to store urine until it is drained out of the body through the urethra.
Bladder cancer grows in the cells that outline the inside of the bladder. Urothelial cells also strive in the kidneys and tubes that adjoin the kidneys to the bladder. So, urothelial cancer may occur anywhere in the kidneys and ureters. But most commonly, it manifests in the bladder.
Commonly, bladder cancers are highly detectable in the early stages as well. So, this widens the scope of treatment. Nonetheless, even after successful treatment, signs of bladder control may come back. Hence, people with bladder cancer may need follow-up tests even after years of treatment to look for cancer that recurs.
Types of bladder cancer
Bladder cancer can be classified based on how far they have grown into the wall of the bladder.
Non-invasive cancers grow only in the inner layer of cells.
Invasive cancers grow into the deeper layers of the walls of the bladder. Such cancers are tough and tricky to treat.
There are three types of bladder cancer:
Transitional cell carcinoma
Transitional cell carcinoma is the most prevalent type of bladder cancer. It begins in the transitional cells in the inner layer of the bladder. Transitional cells are the cells that vary in shape when the tissue is stretched without breaking apart.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the rarest cancer. It begins after an infection or irritation in the bladder triggers the production of these narrow squamous cells.
The form of cancer generally begins when epithelial cells grow in the bladder when irritation or inflammation begins in the bladder. Epithelial cells are held responsible for producing mucus-secreting glands in the body.
How do bladder cancers grow and spread?
The bladder is made of multiple layers, and each layer has variable types of cells. Mostly the cancer of the bladder begins in the innermost layer of the bladder, which is called the urothelium or transitional epithelium. As cancer spreads into different layers, it advances to other stages, becomes more intense and severe, and is usually hard to treat.
As time overrun, cancer might spread to the outside of the bladder and into nearby structures. It may also spread to the nearby lymph nodes, the lungs or to the liver or even in the bones.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common sign that occurs during bladder cancer is the blood in the urine. Usually, there is hardly any pain that might tell you about cancer. Other common indications may include bone tenderness, fatigue in advanced stages.
You need to pay attention to signs like:
- blood in the urine
- dark-coloured urine
- painful and yet frequent urination
- urine dribbling
- urinary incontinence
- pain in the abdominal area
- pain in the lower back
- weight loss
If you notice changes in the colour of the urine, and it seems like your urine has some blood spots, make an appointment with your doctor. There could be a possible number of causes to this. If symptoms are worrisome, consult your doctor right away.
The exact cause of bladder cancer is not known yet. It is known that when abnormal cells grow and multiply abruptly and uncontrollably, they hamper the function of tissues and other organs in the body.
While the cause is exactly not known, there are certain risk factors that may put you at an increased risk of bladder cancer.
Factors that may increase bladder cancer risk include:
- Smoking: Smoking cigars and cigarettes may put you at risk of bladder cancer. The chemicals produced due to this unethical activity may accumulate in the body. These chemicals are excreted by the kidney through urine which irritates your bladder, increasing your risk of bladder cancer.
- Increasing age: The risk of bladder cancer also increases with age. Though it can develop at any age, most people have cancers in their bladder only after they are older than 55.
- Chronic bladder inflammation: Repeated UTIs, inflammation in the bladder likely increases your risk of squamous cell bladder cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma is also linked to chronic bladder inflammation triggered by the parasitic infection known as schistosomiasis.
- Previous cancer and its treatment: If you have had cancer in the past, your risk of cancer any time in future may also expand. In fact, treatments for cancer also raises your risk of cancer in the future. Anti-cancer drugs like cyclophosphamide are distressing to health. Also, those who received radiation treatments at the pelvis for one or the other reason are also at risk.
- Exposure to chemicals: Your kidneys are essential to keeping waste and hazardous substances from the bloodstream and moving them to the bladder for excretion along with the urine. So, when you are exposed to certain chemicals, they may reach the bloodstream and then be drained out by the kidneys. Chemicals that are linked to the bladder may include arsenic or those used in the production of textiles, rubber, dyes, and paint products.
- A family history of cancer: If you or anyone in your family (especially first-degree relatives) have had bladder cancer, you are more likely to get it again. However, it happens very rarely for bladder cancer to spread this way. Other forms of cancers like Lynch Syndrome, also called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, also puts you at an increased risk of cancer in the uterus, colon, ovaries, and other subsiding organs.
Ayurvedic treatment for bladder cancer
In Ayurveda, cancer is known as “Arbuda”, characterized by the growth of cancer cells, taking up the shape of the tumour. It is the aggravation of the doshas or life energies that result in the growth of tumour cells in that particular organ.
Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, when vitiated, may allow the bladder to be loaded with cancer cells in which the organ stops functioning properly.
Other factors that add to the severity of the condition is the digestive fire or Agni or Saptadhatu, channels and tissues of the bodily organ, followed by the involvement of genes.
Allopathic procedures like chemotherapy and radiation therapies do kill the cancer cells, but along with this, healthy cells also get killed. Moreover, destroying cells in the bladder may not do the needful. The need is to cure the underlying cause, which can only be done with the help of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda fights the root cause of the problem so that the disease does not occur again. Ayurvedic procedures are safe and organic while they do not pose any threat to the body. Panchakarma is one of the powerful tools to help the body get rid of toxins and waste substances which are the prime cause of cancer growth.
At AyuKarma, we employ safe therapies and procedures to help with bladder cancer. Our ayurvedic physicians are certified and trained to work on a wide spectrum of conditions, including bladder cancer.
Make your consultation with us at AyuKarma.