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Bladder Cancer

The most common type of bladder cancer is transitional cell carcinoma, which begins in urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder. Urothelial cells are transitional cells, which are able to change shape and stretch when the bladder is full. This type of cancer is also called urothelial carcinoma. Other types of bladder cancer include squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells lining the bladder) and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids).  




Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be at risk for bladder cancer. Risk factors for bladder cancer include:  

  • Using tobacco, especially smoking cigarettes.  
  • Having a family history of bladder cancer.  
  • Having certain changes in the genes that are linked to bladder cancer.  
  • Being exposed to certain chemicals in the workplace.  
  • Past treatment with certain anticancer drugs, such as cyclophosphamide orifosfamide, or radiation therapy to the pelvis.  
  • Taking Aristolochia fangchi, a Chinese herb.  
  • Drinking well water that has high levels of arsenic.  
  • Drinking water that has been treated with chlorine.  
  • Having a history of bladder infections, including bladder infections caused bySchistosoma haematobium.  
  • Using urinary catheters for a long time.  

    Although urinary bladder cancer incidence rates are much higher in whites than in African Americans, mortality rates are only slightly higher, due in large part to the later stage at diagnosis among African Americans. Overall, men are about four times more likely than women to be diagnosed with bladder cancer.  




    These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by bladder cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following: 

  • Blood in the urine (slightly rusty to bright red in color).  
  • Frequent urination.  
  • Pain during urination.  
  • Lower back pain.  

    The most common sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Bladder cancer is often diagnosed at an early stage, when the cancer is easier to treat. Although there is no standard or routine screening test for bladder cancer, cystoscopy (a procedure used to see inside the urinary bladder and urethra) and urine cytology (a test to look for abnormal cells in urine) are used in patients who have previously had bladder cancer.  


    Tests and Detection:


    The following tests and procedures may be used:  

  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.  
  • Internal exam: An exam of the vagina and/or rectum. The doctor inserts lubricated, gloved fingers into the vagina and/or rectum to feel for lumps.  
  • Urinalysis: A test to check the color of urine and its contents, such as sugar, protein,red blood cells, and white blood cells.  
  • Urine cytology: A laboratory test in which a sample of urine is checked under amicroscope for abnormal cells.  
  • Cystoscopy: A procedure to look inside the bladder and urethra to check for abnormal areas. A cystoscope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. A cystoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.  
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP):A series of x-rays of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder to find out if cancer is present in these organs. A contrast dye is injected into a vein. As the contrast dye moves through the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, x-rays are taken to see if there are any blockages.  
  • Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by apathologist to check for signs of cancer. A biopsy for bladder cancer is usually done during cystoscopy. It may be possible to remove the entire tumor during biopsy.  



    Different types of treatment are available for patients with bladder cancer. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment. There are different types of treatment for patients with bladder cancer.  

    Four types of standard treatment are used:  

  • Surgery  
  • Radiation therapy  
  • Chemotherapy  
  • Biologic therapy  

    To learn more about bladder cancer, please visit The National Cancer Institute .  




    This content is provided for informational purposes only. has not verified the accuracy of the information contained in this article, which is presented on an “as is” basis.  It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or vigorous physical activity or making any changes to existing treatment or activities. Do not delay seeking or otherwise disregard medical advice based on the content presented here.   The product information contained in this document, including the product images and additional product materials, was collected from various supplier sources. All product claims and specifications are those of the product suppliers and have not been independently verified by Simply Medical. Simply Medical is not responsible for errors or omissions in the product information.   All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. © 2015 All Rights Reserved.