What is Transitional Cell Bladder Carcinoma?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2018
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Transitional cell bladder carcinoma is the most common type of urinary tract cancer. It affects both men and women and can occur at any age, though bladder cancer is most prevalent in people over the age of 60. Smoking is the single largest risk factor for developing the condition, though a person who has been exposed to industrial chemicals or has a genetic predisposition to cancer is also at risk.Bladder cancer is usually fatal without treatment. Early detection of transitional cell bladder carcinoma by a trained urologist is essential in providing a patient with the best chances of survival.

About half of people who are diagnosed with transitional cell bladder carcinoma have the low-grade variety, meaning the cancer is restricted to the outermost layers of the urinary tract lining and is unlikely to spread quickly to other parts of the body. The other half of patients have high-grade carcinoma, which means the cancer penetrates the outer lining and afflicts the underlying muscle tissue. High-grade carcinomas tend to form tumors and spread quickly.


In its earliest stages, transitional cell bladder carcinoma may not produce physical symptoms. As the cancer progresses, the most common symptom is hematuria, or blood in the urine. An individual may also experience frequent urges to urinate and pain during urination. If a tumor grows very large, it may create a palpable lump on the lower abdomen. A person who experiences any possible symptoms of transitional cell bladder carcinoma should contact a urologist immediately.

When a urologist suspects carcinoma, he or she usually first collects a urine sample to check for hematuria and rule out the possibility of a simple infection. In addition, the doctor can take a computerized tomography scan to look for tumors and other abnormalities. When cancer seems to be the likely cause of symptoms, the urologist conducts a procedure called a cystoscopy. A long, lighted tube is inserted into the urethra, so the doctor can closely inspect bladder tissue. A tissue biopsy may also be performed to confirm transitional cell bladder carcinoma.

Treatment for transitional cell bladder carcinoma depends on the exact location of the cancer and the severity of symptoms. When carcinoma is detected early, chemotherapy or radiation treatments can be administered in an attempt to destroy the cancerous cells. Surgery may be conducted to remove isolated tumors from the bladder and surrounding tissue. Additional treatment measures are needed if the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. Transitional cell bladder carcinoma tends to be a persistent condition, so doctors usually schedule regular checkups with their patients even after successful treatments to ensure problems do not return.



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I am 15 and was diagnosed with Transitional cell bladder carcinoma. This article was very informative.

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