Your Bladder & Bladder Cancer

What Does Your Bladder Do?

The job of the urinary system is to filter waste products from your blood and transport the waste products in the form of urine, out of your body. Your bladder is part of your urinary system. It’s a thick-walled structure, consisting of a relatively thin inner layer with a thick muscle covering. Its main function is to store urine. The bladder has an inner layer of epithelium that is made of several layers of cells.

The primary “system” for filtering the urine is our two kidneys. Urine, the filtered waste product, is produced and stored in the central part of the kidney called the renal pelvis. The renal pelvis contracts and propels the urine through the ureters. The ureters are thin-walled tubes which extend from inside the renal pelvis to the bladder. For most people, the bladder can hold as much as one pint (16 ounces) of urine at a time. It contracts or expands depending on how much fluid is in it. When it contracts following a series of neurological “messages” to the brain and spinal cord, the urine moves through the urethra outside the body.

What is Bladder Cancer?

According to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, bladder cancer most often begins in the urothelial cells that line the inside of your bladder when cells start to grow out of control. Most tumors develop on the inner layer of the bladder. Some can grow into deeper bladder layers. As cancer grows through these layers into the muscle wall, it becomes harder to treat. Urothelial cells are also found in your kidneys and the ureters, the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Bladder cancer can happen in the kidneys and ureters, although less frequently.

Types of Bladder Cancer

The most common type of bladder cancer is urothelial carcinoma. It occurs in the urothelial cells lining the interior part of your bladder. Urothelial cells are also in other parts of your urinary system; your kidneys, ureters and your urethra are also comprised of these cells. It is possible that tumors could be discovered in these areas, too. Your entire urinary tract will be examined to check for tumors when bladder cancer is suspected or diagnosed.

There are other rarer types of bladder cancer as well.

  • Muscle Invasive vs Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer: Bladder cancer cells that migrate into the muscle and are considered “invasive” and are more difficult to treat, as they often grow further into the walls of the bladder and outside.Non-invasive bladder cancers are in the inner layer of cells, they have not grown further into the deep layers of the bladder. They are easier to treat because they haven’t spread.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Of bladder cancer cases discovered in the United States, squamous cell carcinoma makes up 1% to 2% of the cases.
  • Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma bladder cancer makes up roughly 1% of all bladder cancer cases.
  • Small Cell Carcinoma: With origins in neuroendocrine cells, small-cell carcinomas are rare and make up less than 1% of all bladder cancers. Small cell carcinoma is a fast-growing cancer and chemotherapy is a common treatment for this type of bladder cancer.
  • Sarcoma: Sarcomas are a rare type of bladder cancer that originates in the muscle cells of the bladder.

Source: Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (May 8, 2024)

How is Bladder Cancer Treated?

Standard care treatment plans depend on whether your cancer is invasive or non-invasive and if the cancer has spread. Surgical removal of tumors, possibly chemotherapy and radiation can all help to treat bladder cancer.

Hyperion Functional Medicine focuses on the roots of bladder cancer in the functional oncology program and augments treatment if standard of care options are also chosen.

Where Does Bladder Cancer Come From?

All cancers have roots that should be addressed. For bladder cancers specifically:

  • Sedentary Lifestyle: The more sedentary your lifestyle, the higher your risk of developing cancer and, if you have cancer, decreasing oxygenation reduces your chance of recovery. Cancer does not thrive in an oxygenated environment.
  • Inflammatory Diet: Inflammation is a driver for all cancers. An anti-inflammatory diet managed by a licensed nutritionist should be implemented and made a part of your lifestyle.
  • Chronic Infections: While your body is fighting infections that you may not be aware of, it cannot effectively and efficiently fight your cancer. Most often these can be viruses or infections in your G.I. tract.
  • Environmental Toxins: Toxins are one of the types of research based “causes” of bladder cancer. All bladder cancer patients should be placed in a targeted detoxification program based on their lifetime history of exposure to environmental toxins.
  • Toxic Emotions and Elevated Cortisol: Elevated cortisol, the stress hormone, drives bladder cancer growth and progression. Patients need to be given the tools to reduce cortisol levels in order to optimize healing and recovery.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Specifically, deficiencies in phytonutrients. Phytonutrients obtained from the diet and prescribed supplements optimize healing from cancer. These nutrients are specialized and not obtained from processed and inflammatory foods.
  • G.I. Dysbiosis and Malabsorption: G.I. dysbiosis can add to the cancer root infections and immune deficiencies, malabsorption contributes to nutritional deficiencies.

Hyperion Functional Medicine addresses the targets for your personal roots of cancer in the functional oncology program. Treatment plans are research based and focus on specialized lab testing and plans which optimize healing from cancer. A specialized research-based treatment plan is implemented targeting the hallmarks of cancer affected by your specific cancer diagnosis.

Contact Hyperion Functional Medicine to learn more about bladder cancer.