Bladder cancer, which damages the cells that line the bladder, affects people from many age groups and backgrounds. People who are over 40 are at higher risk for the disease, as are males and smokers. If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, you will want to know which type you have so that you can better understand your treatment and pain management options.
Increase Your Knowledge of Bladder Cancer
Know that though there are 3 different types or classifications of bladder cancer, 1 type is overwhelmingly predominant. Urothelial carcinoma, or transitional cell carcinoma, is the classification of 9 out of every 10 cases of bladder cancer.
Be aware that the 2 other classifications are more invasive types of bladder cancer, but together account for less than 10 percent of bladder cancers. These 2 types are called squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas.
Know that within the most common type of bladder cancer, urothelial carcinoma, there is a further subclassification of papillary and nonpapillary tumors. Nonpapillary tumors are flat, while papillary tumors have 'legs,' or finger-like projections.
Talk to your doctor about which treatment is right for your specific type of bladder cancer. The different types of bladder cancer will respond to different types of treatment, which can include transurethral surgery (removing the tumor using a tiny cystoscope) and cystectomy, which involves cutting through the wall of the bladder.
Read the National Cancer Institute's online booklet, entitled "What You Need to Know About Bladder Cancer" (see "Resources" below).
Take the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention's questionnaire to learn more about the risks for bladder cancer as well as preventative measures (see "Resources" below).
Browse the Journal of the American Medical Association for a basic overview of bladder cancer, including pictures and treatment descriptions (see "Resources" below).
Learn Where to Find the Support You Need
Seek support from your hospital, church or other community resource. Other cancer patients will understand what you are going through, helping to boost your mood. The American Cancer Society supports the idea of seeking psychotherapy or other types of counseling during what will be a very difficult time for you and those close to you.
Visit the Wellness Community to find both online and local support groups for those with cancer and their loved ones (see "Resources" below).