Metastatic Bladder Cancer

Understanding Metastatic Bladder Cancer

Metastatic bladder cancer is a type of cancer that has spread beyond the bladder and into other locations. Bladder cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs, or lymph nodes, is known as metastatic bladder cancer. Metastatic bladder cancer is highly aggressive and is usually fatal.

Signs and Symptoms of Metastatic Bladder Cancer

In its earliest stages, metastatic bladder cancer may not cause any symptoms. As the cancer progresses, patients may experience pain and other symptoms in areas where the cancer has spread. These may include:

  • Pain in the back, ribs, pelvic area, or other parts of the body
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Swelling of the legs or abdomen

Diagnosis of Metastatic Bladder Cancer

To diagnose metastatic bladder cancer, a doctor will usually start with a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. The doctor may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, to look for tumors or other abnormalities. A sample of the tumor may also be taken and examined in a laboratory to look for cancer cells.

Treatment of Metastatic Bladder Cancer

Treating metastatic bladder cancer depends on how advanced the cancer is and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of treatments. Surgery may also be used to help remove tumors or relieve symptoms.

Living with Metastatic Bladder Cancer

Living with metastatic bladder cancer can be challenging. Patients will need to be monitored for any changes or new symptoms that occur. It is important to follow all the doctor's instructions and attend all follow-up appointments as recommended. Many patients find emotional support groups or counseling helpful during this time. Additionally, eating a healthy diet and exercising can help to maintain strength and energy.