There are several different types of bladder cancer. The type of cancer indicates the type of cells and where the cancer first began to develop. The type of cancer diagnosed can have an impact on the treatment that is recommended for a patient.
The most common form of bladder cancer in the UK is transitional cell bladder cancer. Around 90% of all bladder cancers are this type, sometimes referred to as urothelial cancer, and it’s starts if the cells of the bladder lining. Transitional cell cancer are split into a further two categories – non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and invasive bladder cancer – and the treatment for the two is very different.
Other forms of bladder cancer include:
• Squamous cell bladder cancer – Only around 5% of bladder cancers in the UK are this type but it’s a type that’s more common in developing countries. Squamous cells are the cells that make up the moist tissue that lines the body’s organs.
• Andenocarcinoma of the bladder – Just to 2% of bladder cancer in the UK are adenocarcinoma of the bladder. This type of cancer starts in the cells that line the bladder and produce mucus.
There are other forms of bladder cancers but these are rare. It’s also possible for cancers that started in other parts of the body, such as the prostate or cervix, to spread to the bladder, these are known as secondary cancers.
Main renal cancer treatment options include:
Surgery aims to remove the cancerous tissue. It can involve a partial nephrectomy, where just a portion of the affected kidney is removed, or a radical nephrectomy, where an entire kidney is removed. Even if it’s necessary to remove a whole kidney it’s possible to live a normal life following the procedure.
• Ablation therapies
Ablation therapies work by destroying the cancerous cells, either by freezing or heating them. It’s typically a treatment option that is recommended only if the tumour is small in size or under certain circumstances, such as it being vital that the kidney continues to work.
• Biological therapies
Biological or targeted therapies are medications that can help stop the cancer from growing or spreading further. It’s usually an option when the cancer has reached an advanced stage. The NHS currently recommends several different biological therapies for renal cancer for routine use.
If kidney cancer has reached an advanced stage or you’re not a suitable candidate for surgery, the team responsible for your care may suggest embolisation. It’s a process that involves cutting off the blood supply to the tumour, causing it to shrink.
Radiotherapy is usually only used in renal cancer cases if a complete cure isn’t an option. The radiation given during the treatment can slow the progress of the disease and help to alleviate symptoms.