Malignant tumors are today diagnosed and amenable to adequate treatment in the early stages of the disease. Bladder cancer in women is not the most common pathology, but how to recognize it and consult a doctor on time is important for every lady to understand. The age group at risk is those who have reached the age of 40, as well as girls and women who often suffer from inflammation of the urinary system.
Description of the disease
Cancer of the urea is an oncological pathology. With her, a malignant tumor develops on the wall of the bladder, inside the cavity. Women are 4 times less susceptible to this disease than men. The type of disease depends on which cells are transformed into malignant ones. More specifically:
- Carcinoma or cancer of the transitional cell category. This is the most common form.
- Squamous cell cancer. The main reason is cystitis, it just most often develops in women.
- Adenocarcinoma is the least common.
There is also a classification depending on the forms of growth – invasive and non-invasive. In the first case, cancerous tissues grow to the wall of the bladder and cell structures in the neighborhood. The second option is that the tumor in the process of growth and development goes beyond the bladder.
At the moment, medicine cannot give an answer why women develop this oncological disease. And the numerous opinions on the forums have no scientific basis – only guesswork. So far, no chromosomal changes or mutations have been found that would indicate the development of just this type of tumor neoplasm.
Important! At the moment, the influence of genetic factors on the development of the disease is being actively studied.
But there are certain circumstances that lead to a high risk of developing oncopathology. Risk factors are:
- Smoking. During long-term smoking, not only the respiratory organs are under attack, but the entire body. When harmful toxins enter the body, they decompose, the results of such decomposition are excreted from the body through urine. Toxins from cigarettes have a negative effect on the urea walls, causing inflammation. As a result, mutation occurs and the risk of developing cancer increases.
- Harmful substances. If the body is exposed to chemicals for a long time, for example, in hazardous industries, their effect on the body is the same as that of cigarette smoke.
- A large number of fried foods in the diet. Carcinogens that are formed as a result of frying affect the development of oncology, including in the bladder. Since carcinogens are also excreted in the urine, which means they pass through the bladder.
- Chronic pathology of the bladder. Such pathologies include: urostasis, urolithiasis, inflammation of various kinds, polyps, papillomas. The latter is a benign tumor, which, nevertheless, has a significant chance of transforming into a malignant one.
- Age factor – there is a higher risk of the disease in older people.
- The action of ionizing radiation.
- Living in an area with widespread schistosomiasis. This is an infectious pathology that is caused by parasites in the human body.
- The habit of often delaying urination and enduring can become a provocateur.
- An overactive bladder. There is a desire to visit the toilet more than 8 times a day. This can be the result of inflammation.
At the moment, the relationship between the amount of protein and salt consumed is being investigated. It has been noticed that such a diet provokes an increased incidence of morbidity, but the nature of this has not yet been determined.
Stages of bladder cancer in women
Like any cancerous tumor, it develops in the bladder in certain stages, and not abruptly. Moreover, at first, it is very difficult to detect such a condition, since there are no obvious symptoms. The following stages are distinguished:
- Initial. Malignant cells are localized on the mucous layer of the urea membrane.
- The transition to the next stage is associated with damage to the submucous layer, sometimes even muscles.
- Next comes the spread to adipose tissue, the walls of the bladder.
- Involvement in the pathological process of the nearest organs occurs. In women, this is the uterus, its cervix, vagina, organs in the abdominal cavity.
- At the last stage, metastasis occurs. Cancer cells can reach organs far enough from the bladder.
If a malignant tumor is detected at the moment when it has already begun to metastasize – stages 3, 4, the prognosis of recovery is unfavorable. That is precisely why it is important to know how it manifests itself in the first stages.
Signs or how to notice danger in time
The first and earliest symptom is blood in the urine. It can be as much of it that there will be an obvious red tint, or quite a bit – the urine will become “rusty” in color. Moreover, this symptom manifests itself almost immediately.
But it is worth understanding that the causes of blood in the urine can be not only oncological, such a symptom is determined in many infections of the urinary system. But according to statistics, this symptom manifests itself in 95% of patients who were nevertheless diagnosed with cancer.
Other signs include:
- Weakness, poor health.
- Disturbed night sleep. During the day there is a feeling of sleepiness.
- Decreased appetite, and as a result, weight loss.
- Signs of depletion of the body: the skin becomes dry, nails, hair brittle, bruises appear under the eyes.
- Pain in the groin area, lower abdomen. This is due to inflammation of the pelvic organs.
- Pain during urination, but this is often noticeable in the early stages of development.
- Very often, inflammation develops in the organs of the urinary system.
- Dysuria is a violation of the rhythm of the frequency of urination. In this case, the frequency increases, and the volume of urine decreases for each act of urination.
For later stages, the following signs appear:
- Lower back pain in the kidney area.
- Swelling of the legs.
- Pain in the bones.
A timely visit to a doctor and correct diagnosis are the key to successful treatment. The most informative is the method of cytoscopy. With it, a visual examination of the bladder, and more precisely, its internal cavity, takes place. During the procedure, biomaterials are taken for biopsy. In laboratory conditions, this material is examined by cytological and histological methods. Which gives confirmation or refutation of a previously stated cancer. Also, cytoscopy helps to find out the stage of the disease.
If the tumor is too small, fluorescence control is used. Using a cytoscope, contrast is injected into the cavity. It accumulates in tumor cells, due to which, when illuminated in blue, it, regardless of size, will be visible in pink.
As an additional measure, MRI and ultrasound are prescribed. The first technique makes it possible to determine whether other organs have suffered. Visualization of the internal structure of the neoplasm also occurs. As for the ultrasound, it shows the outer borders and saturation of the tumor.
Important! If the clinical picture is such that there is a suspicion of the stage of metastases, an additional X-ray examination of the bones is performed.
The tactics of therapy depend on the stage and condition of the patient. Treatment is required complex and consists of different methods.
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This technique is considered the most radical. Its essence is to remove cancerous tissue. If the disease is noticed in the early stages, then the bladder can be preserved. In cases where germination has occurred through the inner wall, the organ is completely removed. In the future, the cavity is formed from intestinal tissue. Plastic surgery of the ureter is also performed, it is necessary to restore its functionality. In the photo you can see the bladder affected by cancer, after removal.
This technique involves exposure to highly active ionizing radiation. This intervention is possible after the operation. Radiation therapy helps to destroy any remaining cancer elements.
The feasibility of its appointment is determined by the doctor for specific indications. It is sometimes prescribed before and after surgery. The main task of the procedure is to destroy cancer cells in the organ. For women with bladder cancer, different methods of chemotherapy can be used, namely:
- Transuretal. This method can be implemented only in the early stages of cancer progression. Medicine is delivered through a catheter that is inserted into the bladder. The drug remains in the cavity for 2-3 hours until it is naturally excreted. This therapy is carried out every week, the course lasts about 6 weeks.
- Oral. The drugs are prescribed in tablet form. The course and duration of admission, as well as the specific drug, is determined by the doctor.
- Intravenous. This technique cannot be bypassed if the tumor has already grown into muscle fibers and adjacent tissues. The drug is injected immediately into the vein, as soon as it enters the bloodstream, it instantly spreads throughout the body.
Such treatment can be prescribed only on an outpatient basis; hospitalization is not always necessary.
Important! The course of chemotherapy consists of several stages, between which the body is given rest.
This technique has a number of side effects that will certainly accompany this procedure, regardless of the method of implementation, namely:
- Weakness and fatigue.
- With transurethral administration, discomfort in the bladder is possible, blood clots appear in the urine. After the completion of the procedure, all negative effects disappear.
- The risk of various kinds of infections increases, since the body at this moment is more susceptible to them, vulnerable.
- Hair may fall out.
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
- Numbness, tingling in the limbs.
To monitor your condition after chemotherapy, you should regularly take the tests recommended by your doctor. Such control is supposed to take place according to a certain schedule.
Prognosis or how long live with bladder cancer
Like any oncological disease, bladder cancer is dependent on the stage at which the pathology is detected. Also, recovery depends on the correctness of the prescribed treatment and the state of immunity.
Important! In the early stages, the prognosis is favorable, but at the same time there is a risk of relapse, therefore it is necessary to visit a doctor regularly after the therapy.
At stages 3 and 4, the probability of a favorable outcome, that is, recovery is only 10-30%. Even with the best treatment available, tumor activity does not give a chance. Patients live no more than 1-2 years. The detection of metastases in other organs gives a prognosis of a survival rate of no more than 5% in a five-year period.
Bladder cancer is a very serious disease that clearly shows itself only in the last stages. It is important not to miss the first bells and signals of your body.