Bladder Cancer Treatment in the Central Coast of California
As with other forms of cancer, bladder cancer is a product of a mutation within the cells that make up the bladder’s tissue. This mutation typically results in the formation of a cancerous tumor, which can be difficult to detect early on since there is no way to view the internal structure of the bladder without imaging tests such as an CT-Scan in conjunction with an in-office procedure called a Cystoscopy.
For bladder cancer patients in the central coasts of California, the Board-Certified Urologists with Urology Associates of the Central Coast are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a bladder cancer consultation in San Luis Obispo, Templeton, Pismo Beach, Santa Maria, or Lompoc.
Types of Bladder Cancer
There are a variety of bladder cancers that an individual may encounter. The primary difference between these multiple types lies in the specific origin of the cancer. For example, bladder cancer that begins within the muscle cells is not the same as cancer that exists within the lining of the bladder.
The most common form of bladder cancer is known as urothelial carcinoma. This cellular mutation can affect not only the lining of the bladder, but also of the ureter and the urethra. Other variations of this condition include:
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Small cell carcinoma
What Are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?
Unfortunately, the early signs of bladder cancer are not always very clear, which is why you should remain especially vigilant should the following symptoms occur:
- Frequent urination
- Pelvic pain
- Pain with urination
- Blood in the urine
- Pain in the lower back
One of the best ways to catch bladder cancer in its earliest stages, potentially even before patients begin to notice its symptoms, is to complete a regular yearly physical. These standard examinations often require patients to provide a urine sample, which can alert your General Practitioner of any abnormalities such as blood in the urine.
Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer
Medical History and Physical Examination
The urologist begins by reviewing the patient’s medical history and conducting a thorough physical examination. They inquire about symptoms such as blood in the urine (hematuria), urinary urgency, and pain during urination.
Urine samples are collected to examine for the presence of cancerous cells or other abnormalities. This is often done through urinalysis, where a laboratory technician examines the urine sample under a microscope.
Imaging techniques like ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans may be performed to visualize the bladder and detect any abnormal growths or tumors.
Cystoscopy is a crucial diagnostic procedure for bladder cancer. It involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera (cystoscope) into the bladder through the urethra. This allows the urologist to directly visualize the inside of the bladder and examine any suspicious areas for signs of cancer.
If abnormal tissue or tumors are found during cystoscopy, the urologist may perform a biopsy. During this procedure, a small sample of the tissue is taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis to confirm the presence of cancer and determine its stage and grade.
Treatment for Bladder Cancer
The treatment approach for bladder cancer depends on several factors, including the stage of the cancer, grade, and the overall health of the patient. The main treatment options include:
Surgical intervention is often the primary treatment for bladder cancer. The extent of surgery depends on the stage and location of the tumor. Options may include transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT), partial cystectomy (removal of a portion of the bladder), or radical cystectomy (removal of the entire bladder). In some cases, nearby lymph nodes may also be removed.
Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It can be administered before surgery to shrink the tumor (neoadjuvant chemotherapy), after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence (adjuvant chemotherapy), or in cases of advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.
Radiation therapy utilizes high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells or inhibit their growth. It may be used in conjunction with surgery or as the primary treatment for patients who are unable to undergo surgery.
Immunotherapy drugs, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors, enhance the immune system’s ability to recognize and destroy cancer cells. They are often used in advanced bladder cancer or when other treatments have not been effective.
Targeted therapies specifically target certain molecules or genetic mutations involved in the growth of cancer cells. They can be effective in advanced bladder cancer cases that harbor specific genetic alterations.
The treatment plan is tailored to each patient’s specific needs and may involve a combination of these approaches. Regular follow-up care, including surveillance cystoscopies and imaging tests, is crucial to monitor for any recurrence or new developments.
Please note that the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer should be conducted by a qualified urologist or a multidisciplinary team experienced in managing urological cancers. They will consider various factors and discuss the most appropriate treatment options with the patient to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Schedule a Bladder Cancer Consultation
When you schedule a consultation with the Urology Associates of the Central Coast, our board-certified urologists will be able to individually evaluate your case and provide comprehensive treatment options that are unique to you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in San Luis Obispo, Templeton, Pismo Beach, Santa Maria, or Lompoc.