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Urinary Bladder Cancer in Feline

 Submitted by Michael Adams on April 16, 2010

Cat bladder cancer is one of the possible diseases that are suspected in older cats when there are repeated urinary tract infections. Bladder cancer in cats does not have a good prognosis and is usually a sign that you have limited time left with your pet. Bladder cancers are possibly of three types adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, or transitional cell carcinomas.

Untreated, any of these could possibly invade other tissues in a process called metastasis.

The bladder is an organ that collects urine. As the blood is filtered in the urine, it drips down and collects in the bladder from where the uterine muscles push the bladder to expel the urine.

The bladder is an organ with its own skin called the epithelium. This is usually where cancers originate. A squamous cell carcinoma is a cancer where the squamous cells of the epithelium start to grow and divide contrary to the rules of normal cells. A cancer then grows out from here. Adenocarcinomas are an appellation given for cancers that originate from secretory glands, though this can occur in the case of bladder cancer, again in the epithelial layer. The typical symptoms that should alert one to a case of bladder cancer would include repeated urinary tract infections, hematuria (blood in urine), and the animal trying to urinate but with little or no urine actually coming out. The animal will also try to urinate more frequently due to the reduced volume available for urine in the bladder.

The treatments for cat bladder cancer follow the usually suite of cancer treatments, which are – chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery, and a new treatment called reolysin therapy. Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic chemicals to destroy tumor cells, radiation therapy ionizes the water surrounding cells causing DNA damage to cancer cells, immunotherapy aims to alert the immune system to destroy the cancer, and surgery is a matter of excising the diseased tissue. Reolysin therapy is a fringe science that shows some promise. Here the reolysin virus, which has the ability to infect tumor cells and lyse them, is used to destroy tumor cells. It is the most non-invasive form of treatment that theoretically could completely eliminate most tumors in the body. This is a therapy that is also being used on humans. However, its costs make this one of the more prohibitive treatments. Besides, doctors still do not completely believe the reolysin virus will behave in the body of a host.

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