Retrospective review.Objective:Spinal cord injury is a known risk factor for bladder cancer. The risk of bladder cancer has been reported at 16-28 times higher than the general population. Earlier studies have identified indwelling catheters as risk factors. We examined the characteristics of bladder cancers in a spinal cord injury (SCI) population.
Long Beach VA Hospital Spinal Cord Injury Unit, Long Beach, California.
We reviewed SCI patients seen and diagnosed with bladder tumors between January 1983 and January 2007. Data collected included time since diagnosis, method of diagnosis, form of bladder management, pathologic type, treatment of the tumor, and outcome.
A total of 32 patients with bladder cancer were identified out of 1319 seen. Tumors found were 46.9% squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), 31.3% transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), 9.4% adenocarcinoma, and 12.5% mixed TCC and SCC. The primary form of bladder management was 44% urethral catheter for a mean of 33.3 years, 48% external catheter for a mean of 37.4 years, and 8% intermittent catheterization for a mean of 24.5 years. Nineteen patients had a known method of cancer detection with 42% found on screening cystoscopy.
The pathologic makeup of the tumors is similar to that reported earlier. Over 50% of patients diagnosed with bladder cancer in our population did not have an indwelling catheter. This suggests that the neurogenic bladder, not the indwelling catheter, may be the risk factor for bladder cancer. Urologists should consider diligent, long-term screening of all patients with SCI for bladder cancer and not just those with indwelling catheters.
Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.
Spinal Cord. 2009 Sep 15. Epub ahead of print.