Types Of Bladder Cancer
There are three main types of bladder cancer, among which, transitional cell bladder cancer (also known as “Urothelial carcinoma”) is regarded as the most common type. This kind of cancer accounts for an estimated 90% of all bladder cancer cases, whereas the two others, “Adenocarcinoma of the bladder”and “Squamous cell bladder cancer”, are only responsible for about 9 to 10 percent in total. Having enough information about these types of bladder cancer will definitely benefit the patients and help them pick up the best treatment method possible.
Transitional Cell Bladder Cancer (Urothelial Carcinoma)
Transitional cells are the ones forming mucosa, the innermost layer of our bladder that has direct contact with the urine. This enables the cancer-causing chemicals, which have been filtered into the urine by our kidneys, to easily react with these cells, eventually leading to the creation of cancerous tumors in the bladder. According to scientists, this type of bladder cancer is highly associated with cigarette smoking.
Based on its behaviors, transitional cell bladder cancer can be categorized into two types: non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and invasive bladder cancer. The former is more popular and also less serious, whereas the ladder is less common but can result in deaths.
Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, also known as superficial bladder cancer, is the early stage of transitional cell bladder cancer. Usually it appears as small and mushroom-shaped tumors, growing out of the bladder lining. These growths, which are regarded as papillary bladder cancer, can be removed by surgery and are unlikely to come back. However, if the cancers are already in CIS (carcinoma in situ) or T1 stages, they are still considered superficial cancers but grow more quickly and can still come back after being removed. While the cancers in CIS are flat and not growing out of the bladder wall, the T1 tumors are high grade ones that have grown into lamina propria, a layer underneath the bladder lining. Cancers in these both stages require more treatment and still need specialists’ attention afterwards to ensure the cancerous cells are removed as soon as they come back.
Unlike superficial bladder cancers that are still in early stages, invasive bladder cancers are cancers which have grown into or beyond the muscle layer of our bladder. Since there is a risk that it can spread to other parts of the body, this type of bladder cancer require more intensive treatment than superficial one. Based on the level of its invasion, this type of bladder cancer can be sorted into many bladder cancer stages, such as T2, T3 and T4, which are high grade stages of this disease.
Adenocarcinoma of the bladder
Accounting for only about 2% of all cases, this is a rare type of bladder cancer beginning in the cells of glandular structures lining body organs and spreads to the bladder. Pathologists can diagnose adenocarcinoma of the bladder by examining the urine or tissue samples of a patient. Treating options for this type include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. As its chance of coming back is pretty high (from 50% to 80%), patients with urinary bladder adenocarcinoma still need intensive care after receiving treatment.
Squamous cell bladder cancer
Squamous cells are flat cells that make up the moist, skin like, tissues lining the body organs. Therefore, squamous cell carcinoma can occur in different body sites. When it is found in the urinary bladder, it is called squamous cell bladder cancer.
Squamous cell bladder cancer is a type of bladder cancer strongly associated with chronic irritation, infection or inflammation. Though only 3 to 7 percent of bladder cancer cases in Western countries are diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, the incidence of this type is higher in developing countries, where a worm infection called bilharzia or schistosomiasis is endemic.
Other rare types of bladder cancer
Besides the three afore-mentioned types of bladder cancer, there are also other forms of this disease such as small cell cancer or sarcoma. However, they are very rare and patients with these types of cancer should carefully consult with specialists before deciding which bladder cancer treatment method to choose.