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Bladder Cancer

Integrative Treatment Options for All Stages of Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer Natural Treatment Center

A relatively rare form of cancer, bladder cancer begins in the lining of your bladder, a hollow organ that stores urine. With a relative 5-year survival rate of 77.1%, it is relatively survivable – if doctors detect it early in its progression.

Unfortunately, bladder cancer tends to recur, so survivors should maintain a regular schedule of checkups with their doctor to detect any recurrences early in their formation. Learn more about this condition so that you can arm yourself against this disease.

What Is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer occurs when cells in the bladder's lining begin to mutate into abnormal cells that grow rapidly into tumors. Without treatment, it can spread into lymph nodes near the bladder and eventually metastasize into other areas of the body, including the liver, lungs, or bones.

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What Can Cause Bladder Cancer?

Several factors increase your risk of getting bladder cancer. They include:

  • Being older than 55: As people age, the chance of the cells lining their bladder mutating increases, hence increasing the likelihood of getting bladder cancer.
  • Being a male: Although women can develop bladder cancer, it occurs more frequently in men.
  • Smoking: Lung and oral cancers aren’t the only malignancies that smoking affects. Since smoking produces toxic chemicals, these compounds accumulate in your urine, causing cellular damage that can lead to abnormalities.
  • Exposure to other toxic chemicals: Like the chemicals produced in smoking, any harmful chemicals that the kidneys filter out end up in the bladder. These chemicals include arsenic and other chemicals used in manufacturing rubber, dyes, cloth, paint, and leather.
  • Chronic bladder infections or inflammation: People with frequent or recurrent urinary infections or inflammations or who use a catheter for a long time are at risk for developing bladder cancer. Inflammation causes changes in the cells in the bladder lining, which puts patients at greater risk.
  • A history of radiation therapy or chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide or ifosfamide: Exposure to high doses of radiation in the pelvic area, as well as these specific chemotherapy drugs, also can cause abnormalities in the bladder lining’s cellular structure. For that reason, supplementing traditional cancer treatments with non-toxic ones or using natural treatment options as standalone treatments can help cancer patients avoid the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Exposure to certain Chinese herbs: While some herbs do help treat cancer, aristolochic acid, a derivative of Aristolochia fangchi, is a carcinogen (cancer-causing substance), especially in the bladder and renal pelvis.
  • A European heritage: People with European ancestry (Caucasian) are more likely to develop bladder cancer.
  • A family or personal history of cancer: People who have had bladder cancer or have a close relative who has had the disease are at greater risk of developing bladder cancer. In addition, a family history of a colorectal cancer, hereditary nonpolyposis, puts a patient at risk for not only colon cancer but pelvic and urinary cancers as well.

What Types of Bladder Cancer Are There?

Five types of bladder cancer occur in humans. Doctors classify these cancers by the kind of cells involved in the tumor. They include:

  • Transitional cell carcinomas: The most common bladder cancer by far, this cancer accounts for 90% of all bladder tumors. These cancers begin in the transitional cells located in the inner lining of the bladder wall.
  • Squamous cell carcinomas: A fairly rare kind of bladder cancer, squamous cell carcinomas comprise only 5% of all bladder tumors. These cancers arise from the squamous cells, thin cells that line the inner bladder, and usually occur in people with previous bladder inflammation.
  • Adenocarcinomas: This rare cancer only comprises 1%-2% of all bladder cancers. These tumors start in the glands that line the bladder.
  • Sarcomas: Another rare cancer, soft tissue bladder tumors begin in the bladder’s muscle cells.
  • Small cell carcinomas: Extremely rare, this cancer occurs in only about 1,000 people in the US. It’s one of the most aggressive bladder cancers, so early detection is key to an optimum outcome.

What Are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Although other conditions can cause blood in the urine, it’s always a good idea for patients to contact their doctor if they find blood in their urine. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain during urination: Like blood in the urine, a burning sensation during urinating can also be a sign of another condition, like a urinary tract infection. Male patients also might experience pain in their penises during urination.
  • Frequent urination: Patients who urinate many times during the day should see their doctor for a checkup. Again, frequent urination could mean that a patient has consumed a lot of liquid or is experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, it’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare provider, given the stakes.
  • Difficulty urinating: Patients whose urinary flow starts and stops or experience a reduced stream should also consult their healthcare provider since blockages could be due to a bladder tumor.
  • Bladder infections that persist despite treatment: Since bladder cancer symptoms are similar to those of urinary tract infections, patients whose symptoms do not subside with antibiotic treatment should consult their doctor.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Bladder Cancer?

First, healthcare providers start with a urinalysis. A urinalysis can detect even small amounts of blood in the urine. If so, the doctor will probably order further tests. These tests include:

  • Biopsy and cytology: A doctor will remove a few tissues from the bladder to examine them under a microscope for indications of cancerous cells.
  • Cystoscopy: In this test, a doctor will advance a tiny lighted tube into the urinary tract to visualize the inner surface of the bladder and urethra. Often, they use fluorescent dye and a blue light to aid their vision. During this procedure, the doctor might remove some tissue from areas that appear to be cancer to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans: These imaging tests allow doctors to examine the bladder more closely to see tumor progression. CT scans can also indicate if the cancer has metastasized into other parts of the body.
  • Transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT): Performed under general or spinal anesthesia, this exploratory surgical procedure involves removing the tumors in the bladder for more tests. If the tumors are still in an early stage, this procedure can also function as a treatment.

If the doctor suspects that the cancer has metastasized, they will likely order a chest X-ray and a bone scan to see if the malignancy has spread into the lungs or bones.

What Are the Stages of Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer occurs in four main stages. In the early stage, called TA, T1, or CIS, the tumor has not progressed further than the bladder's lining or the connective tissue under the lining. The other stages are:

  • Stage II: Denotes tumors that have spread to the bladder’s muscular wall.
  • Stage III: Denotes tumors that have spread into the fatty tissue on the outer surface of the bladder muscle.
  • Stage IV: Denotes cancers that have spread beyond the bladder into the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

How Can I Prevent Bladder Cancer?

While there are no sure ways to prevent bladder cancer, you can take some steps to reduce your risk. These include:

  • Taking vitamins C and E: A 2014 meta-analysis of several medical studies showed that patients who took vitamin C and E – both powerful antioxidants – at fairly high levels had a reduced risk of bladder cancer.
  • Avoiding smoking or being around people who smoke: Smoking cigarettes more than doubles a patient’s risk of having bladder cancer. Pipe and cigar smokers, as well as persons who expose themselves to secondhand smoke, also put themselves at risk for bladder cancer.
  • Choosing alternatives to radiation therapy: Surprisingly, having had radiation therapy for cancer is the second-highest risk factor for bladder cancer. For that reason, choosing non-toxic treatments can be a less-risky alternative.
  • Avoiding exposure to industrial chemicals: People whose work involves exposure to some supplies for manufacturing leather, rubber, textile, hairdressing, or paint can also be at higher risk for bladder cancer.

Which Natural Therapies Can Treat Bladder Cancer?

Holistic medicine offers alternative treatments that have proven to be effective on bladder cancer. Whether patients combine integrative cancer treatments with traditional therapies or by themselves, it’s a treatment route well worth exploring. These treatments include:

Weber laser therapy

Weber laser therapy is a low-level laser treatment that uses various colors of lasers to stimulate and regenerate normal cells and tissues and facilitate the healing process. A 2021 study showed that therapy with blue laser light proved effective in inhibiting bladder cancer progression.

Natural immunotherapy

Immunotherapy uses naturally occurring peptides as immune checkpoint inhibitors in treating cancer. These peptides basically “take the brakes off” a patient’s immune system, allowing the body to fight off the cancer. Studies show that these peptide-sourced therapies are especially effective in treating bladder cancer.

Curcumin IV therapy

A compound derived from turmeric, a popular spice in Indian and other Asian dishes, curcumin has shown great promise as a non-toxic alternative treatment for bladder cancer. As a 2017 study showed, curcumin induces natural cell death (apoptosis) in bladder cancer cells and suppresses the migration and invasion of the cells into other tissues.

Alpha-lipoic acid IV therapy

Alpha-lipoic acid is a naturally occurring substance, both in the human body and in many foods. It dissolves in both water and fat, enabling it to reach into every part of the body. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger, which makes it a promising candidate for cancer treatment. A 2014 study confirmed that theory, showing that alpha-lipoic acid inhibited the proliferation of bladder cancer cells, suppressing migration and invasion significantly.

High-dose vitamin C IV therapy

Vitamin C is more than a preventative in the struggle against bladder cancer. It also offers hope as a non-toxic alternative to traditional bladder cancer therapies and as an adjuvant treatment to complement them. A 2018 study on bladder cancer cells demonstrated this vitamin’s effectiveness in increasing the levels of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), a substance whose lack causes tumorigenesis and progression. Vitamin C restores a patient’s 5hmC levels, stopping the progression of the disease.

Learn How Natural Treatments Can Help You Fight Bladder Cancer

If you’ve received a diagnosis of bladder cancer, the caring team at Brio-Medical can help. With a powerful arsenal of natural treatments for bladder cancer, we can put together a custom care plan that can either augment traditional treatments or replace them. Schedule a free consultation with our medical team today, and discover what we can do for you.

External references:

“Bladder Cancer.” Cleveland Clinic, Accessed September 8, 2022

“Cancer Stat Facts: Bladder Cancer.” National Cancer Institute, Accessed September 8, 2022

“Bladder cancer.” Mayo Clinic, Accessed September 8, 2022

“Bladder and Other Urothelial Cancers Screening (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version.” National Cancer Institute, Accessed September 8, 2022

Ismaili, Nabil. “A rare bladder cancer--small cell carcinoma: review and update.” Orphanet journal of rare diseases vol. 6 75. 13 Nov. 2011, doi:10.1186/1750-1172-6-75

Wang, Yu-Yong et al. “Vitamin C and E intake and risk of bladder cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies.” International journal of clinical and experimental medicine vol. 7,11 4154-64. 15 Nov. 2014

Xia, Yuqi et al. “Photobiomodulation with Blue Laser Inhibits Bladder Cancer Progression.” Frontiers in Oncology vol. 11 (2021). doi: 10.3389/fonc.2021.701122.

Lopez-Beltran, Antonio et al. “Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for the Treatment of Bladder Cancer.” Cancers vol. 13,1 131. 3 Jan. 2021, doi:10.3390/cancers13010131

Sasikumar, Pottayil G et al. “Peptide and peptide-inspired checkpoint inhibitors: Protein fragments to cancer immunotherapy.” Medicine in Drug Discovery vol. 8 (2020) doi: 10.1016/j.medidd.2020.100073.

Shi, J et al. “Curcumin inhibits bladder cancer progression via regulation of β-catenin expression.” Tumor Biology, July 2017. doi:10.1177/1010428317702548

Yamasaki, Masao et al. “α-Lipoic acid suppresses migration and invasion via downregulation of cell surface β1-integrin expression in bladder cancer cells.” Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition vol. 54,1 (2014): 18-25. doi:10.3164/jcbn.13-57

Peng, D. et al. “Vitamin C increases 5-hydroxymethylcytosine level and inhibits the growth of bladder cancer.” Clin Epigenet 10, 94 (2018).

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