The causes of most bladder cancers today remain a mystery to scientists and other researchers. Although they have identified certain risk factors, researchers cannot pinpoint an underlying reason for this cancer’s prevalence. However, they have come to a better understanding of how bladder cells move from being normal to cancerous.
How Does Cancer Develop?
When DNA within a cell mutates, the cells begin growing abnormally, and cancer forms. DNA is present in human cells, and this chemical makes up the genes. Why is this important? The genes within the body dictate how the cells function. Most people associate DNA with a person’s appearance, but it plays a much larger role within the human body. DNA does so behind the scenes, while the person remains unaware of its actions. If you have been diagnosed with cancer in your bladder, talk with your doctor to see if a cause can be determined.
Types of Genes
Oncogenes serve as a specific type of cell in the body. Their job is to assist with cell growth, division, and survival. Tumor suppressor genes, in contrast, help with cell division and fix mistakes in DNA. In addition, they help cells to die at the appropriate time. When a gene mutation occurs, the body either activates the oncogenes or the tumor impression genes stop functioning. However, it takes multiple gene changes before a normal cell transforms into a cancerous one.
Inherited Mutations in Genes
Parents pass DNA down to their children. When doing so, they may also pass down gene mutations that put a person more at risk of developing bladder cancer. However, simply because a family member has bladder cancer doesn’t mean a person will get it. Researchers don’t believe inherited gene mutations cause more forms of bladder cancer today.
Certain individuals appear to have a reduced ability to break down and remove certain cancer-causing chemicals from their bodies, and this inability could be passed down through the generations. For example, they might find they are more susceptible to cancer-causing agents, including industrial chemicals and smoke from tobacco. Researchers now have tests that will help them identify those more at risk of certain cancers, but they often fail to perform these tests. They believe people know industrial chemicals and tobacco smoke do harm to the body, so they avoid them.
Acquired Gene Mutations
Most people who receive a diagnosis of bladder cancer find they developed this cancer as a result of an acquired gene mutation. This differs from inherited gene mutations in that a person does not get the mutations from their parents. The mutations occur thanks to radiation exposure or exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. For instance, a person may absorb secondhand smoke into their blood. The chemicals move through the kidneys where they are filtered. They then travel out of the body in the urine. As they do so, they could negatively impact cells within the bladder. Nevertheless, some gene mutations simply occur with no known cause.
Gene mutations leading to bladder cancer vary greatly by the patient. Researchers believe acquired gene mutations play a key role in the development of some versions of this cancer. This includes the RAS and FGFR oncogenes along with the RB1 and TP53 tumor suppressor genes. These mutations increase the likelihood of the growth of this cancer and the spreading of the cancer to the bladder wall. Researchers today continue to work on developing tests that will find bladder cancer at an early stage by detecting DNA changes. this allows treatment to begin sooner, which gives the patient a better prognosis. That is always beneficial.