Any changes in urinary habits or appearance of the urine warrants a visit to
your health-care provider, especially if you have risk factors for bladder
cancer. In most cases, bladder cancer is not the cause, but you will be
evaluated for other conditions that can cause these symptoms, some of which can
Bladder cancer has a relatively high recurrence rate. Researchers are trying to
discover ways to prevent recurrence. One strategy that has been widely tested is
The idea is to use an agent that is safe and has few, if any, side effects but
is active in changing the environment of the bladder so another
cancer cannot develop so easily there.
The agents most widely tested as chemopreventives are vitamins and certain
No agent has yet been shown to work on a large scale in preventing recurrence of
Another treatment for bladder cancer that is still under study is called
photodynamic therapy. This treatment uses a special type of laser light to
For a few days before the treatment, you are given a substance that sensitizes
tumor cells to this light. The substance is infused into your bloodstream via a
vein. It then travels to the bladder and collects in the tumor.
The light is then aimed at the tumor and destroys tumor cells.
The advantage of this treatment is that it kills only tumor cells, not
surrounding healthy tissues. The disadvantage is that it works only for tumors
that have not invaded deeply into the bladder wall or to other organs. This
treatment is not readily available in most centers in the United States and is
not widely used
After you complete your treatment, you will undergo a series of tests to
determine how well your treatment worked at getting rid of your
If the results show remaining
cancer, your urologic oncologist will recommend further treatment.
If the results show no remaining cancer, he or she will recommend a schedule for
follow-up visits. These visits will include tests to see whether the
cancer has come back. They will be frequent at first because of the risk of
the cancer recurrence after treatment.
If you still have your native bladder, follow-up will include interval
cystoscopy and urine tests.
If you have undergone radical cystectomy, follow-up will include imaging tests
of your chest and abdomen
No sure way exists to prevent bladder cancer. You can reduce your risk factors,
If you smoke
, quit. However, the risk of bladder cancer does not diminish.
Avoid unsafe exposures to chemicals in the workplace. If your work involves
chemicals, make sure you are protected.
Drinking plenty of fluids may dilute any cancer
-causing substances in the bladder and may help flush them out before they can
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