The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower pelvis. It has flexible, muscular walls that can stretch to hold urine and squeeze to send it out of the body. The bladder's main job is to store urine.
Bladder cancer is where a growth of abnormal tissue, known as a tumour, develops in the bladder lining. In some cases, the tumour spreads into the bladder muscle.
Bladder cancer is more common in men and in those who are older (the median age at diagnosis is 69 years).
The initial signs and symptoms of bladder cancer are often mistaken for those of a urinary tract infection or kidney stone.
The most common symptoms include the following:
If you have hematuria, your urine may appear bright red or cola colored. Sometimes, urine may not look any different, but blood in urine may be detected during a microscopic exam of the urine.
If you notice blood in your urine, even if it comes and goes, you should visit a doctor, so the cause can be investigated.
Although there's no guaranteed way to prevent bladder cancer, you can take steps to help reduce your risk.
The following factors may increase the risk of bladder cancer:
Anyone who has signs or symptoms of bladder cancer should have a complete evaluation of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Tests and procedures used to diagnose bladder cancer may include:
During a CT urogram, a contrast dye injected into a vein in your hand eventually flows into your kidneys, ureters and bladder. X-ray images taken during the test provide a detailed view of your urinary tract and help your doctor identify any areas that might be cancer.
After confirming that you have bladder cancer, your doctor may recommend additional tests to determine whether your cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or to other areas of your body.
Tests may include:
Treatment options for bladder cancer depend on a number of factors, including the type of cancer, grade of the cancer and stage of the cancer, which are taken into consideration along with your overall health and your treatment preferences.
Bladder cancer treatment may include:
A combination of treatment approaches may be recommended by your doctor and members of your care team.