Bladder Cancer Experts in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey

Bladder cancer is the uncontrolled growth and division of bladder cells. It’s one of the most common cancers found throughout the United States, but in many cases, a lack of initial symptoms causes it to go undiagnosed in its early stages. As a result, bladder cancer often isn’t caught until it reaches its later stages and becomes more challenging to treat.

That’s why Regional Cancer Care Associates provides bladder cancer screenings, diagnoses, and treatments for patients in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey. Our proactive, individualized care helps patients with bladder cancer lead fulfilling lives while combating the disease.

Bladder cancer cells under microscope

Causes and Risk Factors

Like most cancers, bladder cancer has many potential causes. These include smoking and other tobacco use, exposure to certain chemicals or radiation, chronic irritation of the bladder’s lining, and parasitic infections. However, since the causes of bladder cancer aren’t always clear, physicians have identified other risk factors linked to its development, including:

  • Being male
  • Being Caucasian
  • Older age
  • Prior cancer treatment
  • Taking certain diabetes medications
  • Family or personal history of cancer

Signs and Symptoms

In its early stages, bladder cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms. Once the disease progresses, however, patients may notice:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Back and/or pelvic pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)

While many of these symptoms are also associated with other, more common conditions, such as urinary tract infections, they may be indicative of bladder cancer. If you or a loved one is experiencing one of these signs, contact your doctor right away.

Types and Stages of Bladder Cancer

There are several different types of bladder cancer, and treatment may vary based on the specific type a patient has. These types include:

  • Urothelial carcinoma: This form of bladder cancer develops in the cells that form the interior lining of the bladder. It is the most common type of bladder cancer in the U.S.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: Rare in the U.S., it is associated with chronic bladder irritation, such as the kind caused by an infection or long-term catheter use.
  • Adenocarcinoma: Also rarely seen in the U.S., this form of cancer develops in the cells that make up the mucus-secreting glands in the bladder.

To determine the stage of a patient’s bladder cancer, oncologists use the TNM system, which stands for tumor, lymph node, and metastasis. This method provides important information about the extent, size, and spread of tumors. Depending on TNM classification, the urinary tumor is then further categorized into stages that range from 0 (early, localized cancer) to IV (late-stage cancer that has spread beyond the bladder).

Diagnosis and Treatment

Although bladder cancer isn’t usually discovered until after symptoms develop, earlier detection often equates to a better prognosis. Urinalysis, a popular screening method, is typically used to diagnose patients.

To provide effective treatments, our cancer experts take a patient-centered approach to care. Depending on the stage of the patient’s bladder cancer, applicable risk factors, and screening results, our team develops personalized care plans with treatment modalities such as:

Beat Bladder Cancer with Us

As one of the largest networks of cancer doctors in the country, you can count on Regional Cancer Care Associates to provide advanced treatments in a compassionate setting. Plus, with more than 31 facilities located throughout Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey, our board-certified oncologists are never far away from the people who need them. To learn more about bladder cancer or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.