Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer


Bladder cancer involves a group of cancers that range from non–life-threatening, low-grade, superficial papillary lesions to high-grade invasive tumors. There are various types of bladder cancer defined.

What are the types of bladder cancer?

The international Society of Urological Pathology Consensus had defined a mode of classification of bladder cancer as follows:


There is a normal bladder lining (urothelium) on physical and microscopic examination. Some cases of mild dysplasia may be classified here.


There is a flat bladder lining increased growth (urothelial hyperplasia) and papillary urothelial hyperplasia

Flat urothelial Lesions with atypia

  • Histological examination reveals a reactive (inflammatory) cell abnormality (atypia)
  • Histology may reveal cell abnormality (atypia) of unknown clinical significance
  • Microscopic cell examination shows low-grade bladder lining type of cancer or dysplasia (intraurothelial neoplasia)
  • There is a carcinoma in situ presenting with a high-grade intraurothelial neoplasia.

Papillary urothelial cancers

  • Urothelial papilloma
  • Inverted urothelial papilloma
  • Papillary urothelial neoplasm of low malignant potential
  • High grade papillary urothelial neoplasm
  • Low grade papillary urothelial neoplasm

Invasive urothelial neoplasm

  • Urothelial carcinoma with lamina propria invasion
  • Urothelial carcinoma with muscularis propria (affecting the detrusor muscle) invasion

What cause bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer is a potentially preventable disease associated with specific causative factors. Most of the causative factors also cat as risk factors . Continuous exposure to these leads to bladder cancer. Here are some of the causes:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Occupational exposures to chemicals
  • Exposure to human papilloma virus type 16
  • Infections such as schistosomiasis, tuberculosis
  • Urinary calculi
  • Prolonged use of urinary indwelling catheters
  • Diverticula
  • Drugs such as cyclophosphamide
  • Radiation to pelvic structures
  • Exstrophy of bladder a congenital condition of being born with the abdominal wall open with the bladder muscle open
  • Females with endometriosis
  • Other congenital bladder abnormalities
  • Metastatic spread from other sites such as the colon and ovary

What are the risks of having bladder cancer?

Several factors play a role in having bladder cancer such as:

  • Extremes of age. There is an increased risk of bladder cancer especially among the aged population of over 65years. Close to 70% of these cancers are common among males of this age group and 75% among the females.
  • Cigarette smoking has been show to increase the risks of having bladder cancer among both sexes. Smokers have twice the risk of bladder cancer as nonsmokers. There is a twofold to threefold increase in risk of bladder cancer in subjects who smoke at least 10 cigarettes per day. Close to 50% of males who have bladder cancer are smokers while 30% of females are smokers.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals poses a risk to many. Occupational chemical exposure to substances such as arylamines and its derivatives which may also be found in cigarette smoke, O-toluidine, and benzidine-based dyes leads to cancer of the bladder. Other occupational risks include exposure to dyes, rubber, leather products, paint products, and drill press operators.
  • Drugs such as cyclophosphamide can cause bladder cancer if used on a long term basis.
  • Diet that are rich in beef, pork, and animal fat consumption increase risk of bladder cancer among both sexes.
  • Evidence suggests that consumption of non-beer alcoholic drinks can cause bladder cancer. The high levels of nitrosamines in beer has been implicated in causing bladder cancer
  • In populations living in swampy or stagnant waters and lakes, there are cases of infections with bilharzias (schistosomiasis) that can lead to bladder cancer.
  • Spinal cord injury is associated with increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder.

How smoke increases the risk of bladder cancer

  • Tobacco Smoke Contains these Substances ;
  1. Aldehydes such as acetaldehyde, and acrolein
  2. Alkaloids such as nicotine
  3. Minerals & Elements such as aluminum; arsenic; cadmium ;Carbon Monoxide; Hydrocarbons; lead ; mercury; nitrogen oxides ; ozone; polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons; radioactive polonium; lithium. Each cigarette contains 2 micrograms of Cadmium and more than 50% of this is absorbed through the Lungs.
  4. Tobacco smoke is the most significant source of environmental exposure to Cadmium.
  • Studies have shown that there is a twofold increased risk of bladder cancer in people smoking at least 10 cigarettes per day
  • Smokers who consume low-tar and nicotine cigarettes have a lower risk of developing bladder cancer when compared with those who consume higher tar and nicotine cigarettes.
  • Those who consume high numbers of unfiltered cigarettes and to some extent the passive smokers have a 50% increased risk of bladder cancer compared with those who smoke filtered cigarettes.
  • Those who smoke pipe have a lower risk of bladder cancer compared with cigarette smokers.

Substances that may increase the toxic effects of tobacco

  • Consumption of high levels of beta-Carotene supplements in concurrent with the use of tobacco has been shown to increase the risks of blade and other types of cancer. The intake of the beta carotenes in the presence of tobacco smoke in the lungs leads to oxidation of epoxides that can increase the binding of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon diolepoxides to the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of the Lungs. This can cause mutations that lead to Cancer.
  • High consumption of caffeine among smokers leads to the craving for tobacco. The alkaloids found in the tobacco are responsible.

Continue reading Staging bladder cancer using the TNM system.