Bladder Cancer

What is bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer is the growth of abnormal tissue (tumour) in the bladder.  Treatment will depend on the specific characteristics of the tumour (referred to as “staging” the tumour).

What causes bladder cancer?

Several factors and harmful substances can increase the risk of developing bladder cancer. Smoking and exposure to certain occupational substances are recognised cause of bladder cancer. Sometimes bladder cancer develops without any known cause.

Stages of the disease

Tumours of the bladder without growing into the muscle tissue of the bladder is called non–muscle invasive. These tumours are superficial and represent an early stage. This is the most common type of bladder cancer. In most cases, these tumours are not aggressive and rarely spread to other organs.  They can however appear again (=recurrence) or develop aggressive features (=progression).

Some cancers grow into the muscle of the bladder, this type of cancer has a higher chance of spreading to other parts of the body (metastatic disease).

Signs and symptoms

Blood in the urine is the most common symptom when a bladder tumour is present.

Sometimes urinary tract symptoms such as painful urination or urinary frequency may indicate the presence of a bladder cancer, particularly if other conditions such as urinary infection have been excluded.

Symptoms such as pelvic pain, pain in the flank, weight loss, or the feeling of a mass in the lower abdomen may be present in some cases when tumours are more advanced.

Symptoms such as pelvic pain, pain in the flank, weight loss, or the feeling of a mass in the lower abdomen may be present in some cases when tumours are more advanced.

Treatment of Bladder Cancer

The treatment of bladder cancer will depend on the type of bladder cancer and the stage of the disease. Patient factors such as age and general health are also very important in planning appropriate treatment.

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