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A tumor can form in any part of the body, and the bladder is no exception. A bladder tumor forms when cells in the bladder overgrow, an event that causes a mass or lesion to form. Often, excess bladder cell reproduction creates a mass that is somewhat like a wart in the bladder.
Bladder tumors can be benign, which means they stay in one place and do not spread to other tissues. They can also be malignant, meaning they are cancerous and capable of moving to other parts of the body. It is malignant tumors that are potentially life-threatening.
Certain types of people are more at risk of developing bladder tumors than others. For example, men are more likely to develop them than women, and they are most frequently diagnosed in those over the age of 50. In fact, only about one percent of bladder cancer is diagnosed in those who are under 40.
There are several symptoms of bladder tumors. A person with a tumor in the bladder may have blood in his urine, and when he has to urinate, he may feel an urgent need to do so. He may also have to urinate more often than in the past, and the amounts of urine he passes may be much smaller. Sometimes a person with a tumor will experience back pain or discomfort in the abdomen.
A malignant tumor is most treatable when it is caught early. Fortunately, most bladder cancers are diagnosed early on. Usually, a person with a malignant tumor will have surgery to remove it, and may be necessary to remove part of the bladder in some cases. In fact, it may be necessary to remove the whole bladder if the cancer has deepened far into its walls. In such a case, surgery is needed to provide a way for the patient's body to get rid of urine.
Sometimes chemotherapy is used in treating a malignant tumor. Chemotherapy involves using drugs to kill cancerous cells. This treatment method may be used before or after surgery. Depending on the particulars of the case, immunotherapy may be an option. This involves using biological therapy to stimulate the body's immune system response and encourage it to fight the cancer.
Radiation therapy is another possible treatment for bladder cancer. For this treatment, radiation is aimed at cancerous bladder tumors, either from a machine located outside the body or from a machine that is actually placed within the bladder. In some cases, radiation therapy is used to shrink the tumor before surgery, making it easier to extract. After surgery, it may be used to destroy any lingering cancer cells.