By: Dr. Thomas Incledon
Are there different types of bladder cancer?
Yes, there are four major categories of bladder cancer. Each one has its own characteristics and genetics that play an important role in treatment options.
The most common type of bladder cancer is Transitional Cell Carcinoma. This cancer starts in the innermost layers of the bladder. They are found in the muscular tissue of the bladder that expands and contracts; when the bladder does its work, the cancer cells can also stretch. There are also segments of Transitional Cell Carcinoma: low-grade that usually does not spread past the bladder and high-grade, which does typically spread to other parts of the body.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma is diagnosed based on the shape and size of the cells that become cancerous. Squamous cells are small and flat, and typically develop after a long-term infection. These cells are found in other parts of the body as well.
Adenocarcinoma is a glandular form of bladder cancer. Glands are mechanisms in the body that produce a substance, usually a hormone, which is secreted into the blood. This type of bladder cancer is rarer than others.
Finally, Superficial bladder cancer is a type that has spread through the lining of the bladder instead of into the muscle. It remains in the outer portions of the organ, hence its name.
With recent medical developments, genetic tests can further delineate the type of bladder cancer and its characteristics, which can have an effect on treatment options. For instance, bladder cancer cells may have similar qualities to a brain or lung cancer so looking at drugs used to treat those cancers make work best for you. Also, bladder cancer cells often mutate or develop resistance to drugs, so understanding their specific make up can lead to better outcomes. At Causenta, patient care teams take all of this into account before suggesting a treatment plan to a patient.
“We look, not only at each patient’s cancer, but also on their overall health to best determine how to help them fight bladder cancer,” explains Dr. Tom Incledon, founder and CEO of Causenta. “It is important to really understand what we are dealing with to help achieve our ultimate goal, which is to save everyone that we can. I truly believe that each human being’s life has value.”
In some cases, if the bladder cancer has become so invasive that in order to save someone’s life, an extreme measure such as a Cystectomy has to be performed. This is a surgical procedure in which part or all of the bladder is removed. While it can be effective in removing the cancer, it may not be the best solution and Incledon urges patients to get all of the information for their case before undergoing this type of surgery. After a Cystectomy, there is a lot of rehabilitation and therapy required to help people be able to urinate normally. It can also lead to sexual health issues that can be life-changing, especially for younger people who still want to have children or an active sex life. The other concerns with a Cystectomy are side effects from surgery, including anesthesia, risk of infection, bleeding or blood clots, and pain.
To learn more about bladder cancer and personalized treatment options at Causenta, schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation today.