Findings From Recent Bladder Cancer Research Studies

September 11, 2015 | Author: | Posted in Health and Fitness

Bladder cancer research has helped in the formulation of newer and more effective treatment options for the condition. Treatment modalities are more targeted because the pathogenesis of the condition is now well understood. Currently, there are a number of other ongoing studies that are aimed at improving on the existing ones. Some of the areas that have generated interest include precipitating factors, epidemiological characteristics and aetiology among others.

There are many new types of treatments that are slowly but surely becoming part of routine therapies. These include, among others, gene therapy, personalised chemotherapy, robotic surgery of the bladder and immunotherapy. Gene therapy is a highly selective process that targets the genetic mechanism of cancerous cells. The aim is to interfere with the reproductive mechanism and to halt the proliferation.

In one of the studies carried out recently, it has been shown that the prevalence of bladder cancer stands at about 400,000 in the United States alone. Close to 6,000 new diagnoses are made every year. The mortality rate is very high for the aggressive, high grade carcinoma. Fortunately only a small number of people have these aggressive forms. It is important that signs and symptoms are identified early to halt progress.

This type of tumour is also commonly seen in dogs. Affected animals will be noted to have obstructive symptoms within the urinary system. If the condition is not identified and treated in time, death ensues rapidly. This is because the common type of tumour in these animals is the invasive, high grade type. Histologically, the commonest type is transitional cell carcinoma. A number of clinical trials are on-going and the results so far are very promising.

The risk factors for the condition have been clearly profiled. Smoking remains the biggest risk factor contributing to about 35% of the cases according to a study conducted in the UK in 2010. Compared to non-smokers, smokers are four times more likely to get the tumour. The risk is proportional to the length and quantity of smoking.

Occupational exposure is another major risk factor. The condition has been demonstrated more frequently among persons working in rubber and dye industries. The first evidence of the cause and effect relationship was demonstrated in the 1950s. Amines are a component of many dyes and are thought to be the main contributing factor. Naphthylamine and benzidine are most notorious of the amines.

Besides the amines, there are several other drugs, medical procedures and conditions which have been shown to increase the risk. The drugs phenacetin and cyclophosphamide are some of the well known carcinogens. The medical procedure known to cause an increase is irradiation of the pelvic organs which is often required in treatment of testicular cancer and cervical cancer.

Bladder cancer research should be looked at as a continuous process if the management of patients is to be improved. All the patients should ideally have their details recorded in a data base. All the important aspects of disease must be clearly shown. If on treatment, they should be followed up until they recover or until they succumb. This is the only sure of ensuring that the effects of interventions are studied. Future decisions can be made based on these results.

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