Bladder Cancer & Drinking Water Contamination

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The bladder is a small elastic organ that is shaped like a balloon and is located in the lower part of the abdomen. The function of the bladder is to store urine until it is released during urination. Bladder cancer is a medical condition where cancerous tumors grow inside the bladder and is rated sixth as the most common type of cancer in America. Fortunately, when detected in its earliest stages, bladder cancer is highly responsive to medical treatment.


There are three main classifications for bladder cancer which are based on the type of cancerous cells present, and the location of these cells in the bladder. Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer and this form grows inside the lining of the bladder. Squamous cell cancer is caused by an infection within the bladder. This type of cancer is caused by a parasite infection, which makes it extremely dangerous. Adenocarcinoma bladder cancer occurs in the glands of the bladder. Usually, this form of cancer develops as the result of long-term bladder inflammation. Squamous and Adenocarcinoma cell cancer cases are rarely found in the United States.

Risk factors and causes of bladder cancer

Doctors and experts in the health field are not certain of the exact causes of bladder cancer, but there are many risk factors for developing bladder cancer. White males are more susceptible to getting bladder cancer than females, and bladder cancer develop more frequently in adults that are older in age. Smoking is at the top of the list as a risk factor. Bladder cancer may occur in people who have a history of the urinary tract and bladder infections.

Chemicals found in polluted water can cause serious health issues including different forms of the disease, illness, and cancer. Some drinking water may contain high levels of nitrates and arsenic which can be toxic at higher levels of concentration. Nitrates and arsenic levels in water are normally regulated by cities and municipal townships but can occasionally be found at more dangerous levels in tap water. People, who reside in rural areas and drink water from a private well are at even higher risk and should purchase a water filtration system to avoid contamination. Hazardous chemicals used in manufacturing plants that produce rubber, paint, dye, leather, and textile products are suspected potential carcinogenic agents that may cause bladder cancer. Exposure to radiation and chemotherapy during treatment for other types of cancer can cause bladder cancer.


The first sign of bladder cancer may be noticeable blood during urination. Even if the blood in the urine stops, see a doctor, because the blood may be microscopic hematuria and undetectable to the naked eye. There are many other medical conditions that can cause blood to appear in the urine, so visit a doctor to get a screening for bladder cancer. Other symptoms which may be signs of bladder cancer include painful urination, a frequent and strong urge to urinate, abdominal pain, fatigue, urinary incontinence, and pain in the lower back.

If a patient demonstrates multiple symptoms of bladder cancer, the doctor will perform a urine culture to check for any signs of cancerous tumors. Another method to test for bladder cancer is to do urine cytology. Cells are checked under the microscope to screen for abnormal cancer cells. To be more conclusive, the doctor will perform a cystoscopy. During a cystoscopy surgical procedure, a microscopic camera is inserted into the bladder to screen for cancerous tumor cells. A small piece of bladder tissue is checked during a biopsy to look for any signs of bladder cancer.


There are four effective methods for treating bladder cancer. Radiation therapy uses radiation or high-energy x-rays to kill off cancer cells. Chemotherapy involves using drugs to kill cancerous cells and prevent them from spreading to other organs in the body. During chemotherapy, medicine is taken orally or injected into the bloodstream to destroy cancer cells. There are three types of surgical procedures used to eradicate cancer from the bladder. In a Transurethral resection, a lighted cystoscope is inserted into the bladder. A surgical tool is used to remove or burn away the abnormal cancer cells. A radical cystectomy surgery is performed to remove the entire cancerous bladder. When a Segmental cystectomy is performed, there is a partial removal of a section of the bladder. Biologic therapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancerous cells in the bladder. Bladder cancer has a tendency to reoccur, so patients, who have been successfully cured of bladder cancer, should be periodically tested for a resurgence of bladder cancer.

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