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May 1981, Volume 31, Issue 5

Original Article


S. Adeebul Hassan Rizvi  ( Department of Urology, Dow Medical College and Civil Hospital, Karachi. )
S. Anwar Naqvi  ( Department of Urology, Dow Medical College and Civil Hospital, Karachi. )


A retrospective review of 250 cases of carcinoma of the urinary bladder is presented. The peak age group was 40-60 years and male/female ratio was 14:1. One hundred and sixty seven (89.8%) patients had transitional cell carcinoma and in 42% the lateral wall was the site of tumour. Papillary tumours were seen in 218 (87.2%) cases. Radiotherapy and surgery combined was the most frequent mode of treatment (119 cases: 47.6%). The 5 years survival rate was 17% (JPMA 31:102, 1981).


Carcinoma of the urinary bladder remains a problem of considerable importance and its management still poses a challenge in a developing country like Pakistan. Some times the disease is too far advanced when discovered, rendering radical treatment impossible, or radical treatment may be refused by the patient.

Patients and Methods

Two hundred and fifty patients with carcinoma of bladder were admitted to the Urology unit between 1974 and 1979. Carcinoma bladder accounted for 9.8% of the 2553 admissions during this period.
Clinical history and physical findings were recorded. Investigations included haemoglobin, total and differential leucocyte count, blood urea, serum electrolytes, excretory urogram, urinalysis and cystoscopy. Biopsy was done in 186 cases whereas endoscopy alone was the basis of diagnosis in 64 cases.
The patients had surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy either alone or in combination. Thirty six patients refused treatment.


The age and sex distribution is shown in Table. I.

The peak age group was 40-60 years. The median age of the patients was 53.2 years (Male 53.4 years; Female 51 years) and the range was between 17 and 91 years. The male to female ratio was 14:1.
The commonest presenting symptom was haematuria in 165(66%) cases as is shown in Table II.

Three patients presented with breath-lessness due. to pulmonary metastases and seven patients had vesical stones.
Duration of symptoms was 0-6 months in 115 (46%) cases. However 135(54%) patients presented between 6 months and over 2 years after the onset of symptoms.
Sixty four (25.6%) patients were diagnosed on endoscopy alone and the remaining 186 on radiological, endoscopic and histological findings.
The tumour was located in the lateral wall of the bladder in 105(42%) patients as shown in Fig. 1.

Papillary growth (single or multiple) was seen in 218(87.2%) cases, Ulcer in 21(8.4%) cases and a solid tumour in 11(4.4%) cases as shown in Fig. 2.

Histological findings are shown in Table III.

Biopsies were obtained from 186 patients. One hundred and sixty seven were of transitional cell type (89.8%).


Geographical variations have been observed in malignant lesions of the urinary bladder.
The average age in this series is 53.2 years with peak age group between 40-60 years which is moderately lower when compared with the series from Western countries. Payne (1959) gave an average age incidence of 63.5 years with only 12% cases under the age of 50 years. Whitmore and Marshall (1962) found the average age in his series to be 58 years. Miller, Mitchell and Brown (1969) reported the maximum incidence in the seventh decade.

Squamous cell carcinoma associated with bilharzial bladder, however, had a lower average age of 46.3 years (El Bouklany et al., 1972).

The male to female ratio of 14:1 is not usual in other series. Morrison and Cole (1976) found male preponderance in bladder cancer in all nations where studies were undertaken. In the United States the male/female ratio is 2:1 (Gittes, 1979). Payne (1959) records a male preponderance of 4.1:1 and Dodge (1962) found it to be 10:1. Failure of the females to submit to urological examination in this Country may account for this finding.
Only 46 percent of the patients presented within 6 months of onset of symptoms. The majority, over 54%, presented 6 months to 2 years after the symptoms occurred. Massey and associates (1965) found that 60% of the patients consulted physicians within 3 months of onset of symptoms. The unusual delay in presentation appears to be, in part, responsible for the poor survival rate.
This study failed to include the role of exogenous carcinogens including smoking in the etiology of bladder cancer. Future studies should enquire into this aspect of bladder carcinogenesis. Another lacunae in this review is the paucity of accurate staging of the disease. This was partly due to a large number of endoscopies being done under local anaesthesia. General anaesthesia in any country has the connotation of a major procedure and is often avoided by our patients.
Haematuria was the commonest presenting symptoms (66%). This compares favourably with the studies of others where the incidence of haematuria has varied from 66.85% (Ash, 1940; Flocks, 1951; Massey et al., 1965)
Transitional cells carcinoma is the commonest type of tumour (89 8%) which is again similar to other studies. Miller, Mitchell and Brown (1969) found transitional ceil as the commonest malignancy of bladder averaging 90-95%. Payne (1959*) records 962 cases of bladder tumours of which 92.5% were transitional cell carcinoma.
Delay in diagnosis and patient resistance to radical surgery are two important impediments in the treatment of carcinoma of bladder in this study. Barnes et al (1967) had 63% 5 years survival in stage A, 40% in stage B and 5% in stage C on endoscopic resection. Marshall et al (1956) showed 63% survival in stage A and 22% in stage C employing partial cystectomy. Riches (1960) had 42% survival in stage A, 9% in stage B2 and only 4% in stage C performing simple cystectomy. Radical cystectomy combined with radiotherapy in a series by Whitmore et al (1977) had 56% survival in stages OAB1 and only 14% in stage D1 D2. By comparision the 5 years survival rate in this series is 17%. However, the selection employed in the series of others and the inherent limitation in diagnosis and treatment, as mentioned earlier, could explain the difference.


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