Dr. Nicholas Franco, MD, Explains Bladder Tumors and Bladder Cancers: Differences, Causes, and Treatments

Michigan, US, 11th June 2024, ZEX PR WIRE, Dr. Nicholas Franco MD, a retired urologist with a career spanning Montreal, New Orleans, and Southwest Florida, provides an in-depth explanation of bladder tumors and cancers. He is expounding the difference between superficial bladder tumors, bladder cancer, and Carcinoma in situ (CIS), as well as their causes and treatment options.

Dr. Franco states that bladder cancer typically begins in the urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder. These cells, he says, are also found in the kidneys and the tubes (ureters) that connect the kidneys to the bladder, though urothelial cancer is more prevalent in the bladder. Superficial bladder cancer, also known as non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer, Dr. Franco adds, accounts for about 75 percent of new bladder cancer cases. This type of cancer is confined to the lining of the bladder and has not spread beyond it.

Superficial bladder tumors, Dr. Franco says, represent a heterogeneous group of cancers. They include tumors that are papillary and limited to the mucosa, high-grade flat tumors confined to the epithelium, and those invasive into the submucosa or lamina propria. The primary goals of treating superficial bladder tumors, he says, are to reduce tumor recurrence and prevent progression to more aggressive forms of cancer. This, he says, helps avoid the need for more intensive therapies.

According to Dr. Nicholas Franco, carcinoma in situ (CIS) is a type of bladder tumor where cancer cells grow locally within the epithelium but do not invade the basement membrane or subepithelial connective tissue. CIS, he states, is characterized by atypical cells throughout the epithelium, with a marked loss of polarity in the epithelial tissue. This condition, he says, can progress to invasive cancer if left untreated.

Dr. Franco notes that the potential causes of bladder cancer are multifaceted. They include environmental factors, such as exposure to certain chemicals and smoking, a significant risk factor. Chronic bladder inflammation and infections, family history, and specific genetic mutations also contribute to the development of bladder cancer.

The symptoms of superficial bladder cancer, Dr. Franco says, often include blood in the urine, frequent urination, a persistent need to urinate despite an empty bladder, pain or burning sensation during urination, and a weak urine stream. These symptoms can mimic those of urinary tract infections (UTIs), making it crucial to seek medical advice for an accurate diagnosis.

Dr. Franco notes that recent research has advanced the understanding of bladder cancer, mainly through molecular mechanisms. A study by researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark, he says, classified early-stage urothelial carcinomas into three primary classes, each with distinct molecular and disease characteristics. These classifications, Dr. Franco notes, provide insights into the cell cycle, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and differentiation processes involved in bladder cancer, potentially leading to targeted treatments based on genetic mutations and molecular pathways.

Treatment options for bladder cancer, Dr. Franco says, vary based on the type and stage of the tumor. For superficial bladder cancer, treatments aim to remove or destroy cancer cells while preserving bladder function. Standard therapies, Dr. Franco says, include transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT), where the cancer is surgically removed via the urethra. Intravesical treatment, which involves delivering medication directly into the bladder, is used to treat superficial tumors and CIS. He states that, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) therapy, a type of immunotherapy, is particularly effective for CIS.

For more advanced cases or recurrent bladder cancer, Dr. Franco notes, radical cystectomy, the surgical removal of the bladder, may be necessary. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy, he adds, are additional options for treating invasive bladder cancer.

Dr. Franco also emphasizes the importance of early detection and personalized treatment plans for effective management of bladder cancer. Regular check-ups and consultations with healthcare professionals, he says, are crucial for at-risk individuals or those experiencing symptoms.

As Dr. Nicholas Franco, MD, enjoys his retirement, his legacy of excellence in urological care inspires and informs the medical community. His expertise provides invaluable guidance in understanding and treating bladder tumors and cancers, contributing to improved patient outcomes and advancing medical knowledge.