Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Definition of bladder cancer: Cancer that forms in tissues of the bladder (the organ that stores urine). Most bladder cancers are transitional cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in cells that normally make up the inner lining of the bladder). Other types include squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells) and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). The cells that form squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma develop in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation.

Estimated new cases and deaths from bladder cancer in the United States in 2009:

New cases: 70,980
Deaths: 14,330

Signs and symptoms Bladder cancer

Bladder cancer characteristically causes blood in the urine; this may be visible to the naked eye (frank hematuria) or detectable only by microscope (microscopic hematuria). Other possible symptoms include pain during urination, frequent urination (Polyuria) or feeling the need to urinate without results. These signs and symptoms are not specific to bladder cancer, and are also caused by non-cancerous conditions, including prostate infections and cystitis. Kidney cancer also can cause hematuria.

Causes Bladder cancer

Tobacco smoking is the main known cause of urinary bladder cancer: in most populations, smoking causes over half of bladder cancer cases in men and a sizeable proportion in women. There is a linear relationship between smoking and risk, and quitting smoking reduces the risk. In a 10-year study involving almost 48,000 men, researchers found that men who drank 1.5L of water a day had a significantly reduced incidence of bladder cancer when compared with men who drank less than 240mL (around 1 cup) per day. The authors proposed that bladder cancer might partly be caused by the bladder directly contacting carcinogens that are excreted in urine. Thirty percent of bladder tumors probably result from occupational exposure in the workplace to carcinogens such as benzidine. 2-Naphthylamine, which is found in cigarette smoke, has also been shown to increase bladder cancer risk. Occupations at risk are metal industry workers, rubber industry workers, workers in the textile industry, and people who work in printing. Some studies also suggest that auto mechanics have an elevated risk of bladder cancer due to their frequent exposure to hydrocarbons and petroleum-based chemicals. Hairdressers are thought to be at risk as well because of their frequent exposure to permanent hair dyes.


Thursday, January 21, 2010


The first step in diagnosing brain cancer involves evaluating symptoms and taking a medical history. If there is any indication that there may be a brain tumor, various tests are done to confirm the diagnosis, including a complete neurological examination, imaging tests, and biopsy.

Imaging Tests

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) is the diagnostic test of choice for brain cancer. ELectromagnetic energy produces detailed computer images of the brain from different angles. It can detect edema (swelling of brain tissue) and hemorrhage (bleeding). In some cases, a dye is injected intravenously to improve the contrast between an abnormal mass and normal tissue.

Computed axial tomography (CAT or CT scan) involves the use of x-rays and a computer to obtain images of the brain. A dye is often injected intravenously to improve the contrast between an abnormal mass and normal tissue. Not only can the tumor be seen, but the type of tumor sometimes can be identified with a CT scan.

Positron emission tomography (PET scan) helps the physician evaluate brain function and cell growth by producing images of physical and chemical changes in the brain. An injected radiopharmaceutical substance is absorbed by tumor cells in the brain. Measurements of brain activity are determined by concentrations of the substance and then fed into a computer, which produces an images of the brain.

PET can precisely locate a tumor and detect metastatic and recurrent brain cancer at earlier stages than MRI or CT scan. This technique also can be used to evaluate the tumor's response to chemotherapy and radiation treatment.


Thursday, January 14, 2010


There are two types of brain tumors: primary brain tumors that originate in the brain and metastatic (secondary) brain tumors that originate from cancer cells that have migrated from other parts of the body.

Primary brain cancer rarely spreads beyond the central nervous system, and death results from uncontrolled tumor growth within the limited space of the skull. Metastatic brain cancer indicates advanced disease and has a poor prognosis.

Primary brain tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. Both types take up space in the brain and may cause serious symptoms (e.g., vision or hearing loss) and complications (e.g., stroke).

All cancerous brain tumors are life threatening (malignant) because they have an aggressive and invasive nature. A noncancerous primary brain tumor is life threatening when it compromises vital structures (e.g., an artery).

Incidence and Prevalence

In the United States, the annual incidence of brain cancer generally is 15–20 cases per 100,000 people. Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in patients younger than age 35.

Primary brain tumors account for 50% of intracranial tumors and secondary brain cancer accounts for the remaining cases. Approximately 17,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with primary cancer each year and nearly 13,000 die of the disease. The annual incidence of primary brain cancer in children is about 3 per 100,000

Secondary brain cancer occurs in 20–30% of patients with metastatic disease and incidence increases with age. In the United States, about 100,000 cases of secondary brain cancer are diagnosed each year.

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