What Does It Mean to Have Polyps in the Bladder?
Stage 1 – Normal Size (no polyps)
Stage 2 – Small Polyp (1-2mm)
Stage 3 – Medium Polyp (3-4mm)
Stage 4 – Large Polyp (5-6mm)
The number of polyps increases with age. The average life span of a person is around 80 years.
A person will have between 10% and 20% of their body made up of polyps at any given time. If they live past 70 years, it’s likely that they’ll have 50-60% or more of their body made up of them.
Polyps can be benign or malignant. Bacterial polyps are harmless and do not cause problems.
They are the kind that grow out of control when there is an infection such as urinary tract infections (UTIs). Malignant polyps are cancerous tumors that may spread throughout your body and even into other organs like your brain, heart, bones, lungs or skin.
They may be the size of a pinhead or a small melon – and in some cases, larger than a softball. The average size of a large bladder tumor is around 2 inches in diameter, although there have been tumors that are the size of lemons or oranges.
Malignant tumors can grow back after treatment, so it’s a good idea to monitor them carefully. It’s rare for one to grow faster than 1 centimeter per month.
Rapid growth may be a sign of cancer that has spread to other parts of your body. If this happens, you will need medication or additional treatment to slow or stop the growth of the tumor. It’s important to see your doctor immediately if you notice anything unusual, such as pain or blood in your urine.
There are three types of bladder tumors:
Transitional cell carcinoma (80%) – Most bladder tumors are of this type. They begin in the lining of the bladder and may grow inward or spread to other parts of your body.
Squamous cell carcinoma (5%) – These tumors develop from squamous cells, which are flat cells that line the bladder.
Melanoma (rare) – Melanomas do not usually occur in the bladder, but if they do, they are almost always found in people who have had prolonged sun exposure. The good news is that they are very rare.
Other factors that may contribute to bladder cancer are smoking and being exposed to certain chemicals.
Bladder cancer is more common in men than women, and the older you are, the more likely you are to develop it. The average age of people with this condition is between 60 and 70.
It’s usually detected after the patient has symptoms such as blood in the urine, a persistent urge to urinate, or pain in the lower back or abdomen. A urine test and medical history will usually lead to a diagnosis. A urinalysis is usually performed to look for clues about the type of tumor you have. This is followed by imaging tests like an MRI or CT scan to examine the size and location of your tumor.
Once the cancer is localized to the bladder, there are three treatment options:
Surgery (Cystectomy) – This involves the removal of your entire bladder, along with any surrounding lymph nodes in your groin. After surgery, you will be fitted with a catheter (tube) that goes from your bladder out through your abdomen.
You will wear this catheter for the rest of your life to drain urine from your body. This is the most common treatment.
Radiation Therapy – In this procedure, a large machine aimed at your belly area uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
Chemotherapy (Systemic Therapy) – This involves taking anti-cancer drugs that travel through your bloodstream to kill cancer cells throughout your body. Chemotherapy may be recommended in some situations.
Other – Newer treatments are being researched, such as photodynamic therapy (PDT) and transurethral resection of the bladder (TURB). PDT involves injecting a photosensitizing drug into your bladder to make abnormal cells more susceptible to light energy.
A laser is applied to the surface of your bladder to kill cancer cells.
Sources & references used in this article:
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