Anatomy for Bladder Cancer Treatment

This video explains the basic anatomy of the bladder and surrounding organs for patients who have been diagnosed with bladder cancer. Understanding this information can help patients make informed decisions about treatment options and potential risks and side effects.

Read the full video transcript below:

This video is an overview of anatomy for patients with a new diagnosis of bladder cancer.

Before discussing bladder cancer treatments, many patients find it helpful to first understand where the bladder is, what it does and what other organs are nearby.

Let's start by looking at a simplified diagram of the urinary system. 

At the center of it all is your bladder, a muscular sac-like organ located right here in your pelvis. The bladder's job is to expel urine, a waste product produced by your kidneys. Think of it as a reservoir that fills up gradually as your kidneys filter your blood. When it's time to go, the bladder contracts or squeezes and you feel the urge to urinate.

If we zoom in, we see the bladder is made up of several layers and understanding these layers is important for bladder cancer because it affects both the stage and the treatment.

The innermost layer is called the mucosa which is in direct contact with the urine. Surrounding that, we have the muscular layer which contracts to help push urine up.

When we zoom back out, we can see the bladder is connected above to a pair of tubes called ureters. The kidneys sit at the top of the system in the back of the abdomen. They are responsible for filtering blood and creating urine.

Urine leaves the kidneys, travels through the ureters, and settles in the bladder. Bladder cancer starts when abnormal cells start growing in the lining of your bladder. These cells can grow and multiply to form a tumor.

Treatment options may include surgery, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or oftentimes, a combination of these things. The choice of treatment depends on the stage of the cancer and your overall health.

This is not medical advice. Talk to your doctor before making any medical decisions.