Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer


Bladder cancer is a common type of cancer that originates in the cells of the bladder. The cancer usually begins in the urothelial cells which comprise the inner lining of the bladder. Most bladder cancers are discovered and diagnosed at an early stage. At this stage, the disease is easy to treat. However, bladder cancer can recur, so even patients who have been rid of the cancer need to have periodic follow-ups.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine, frequent urination, painful urination and back pain. In some cases, the blood in the urine may be microscopic and only detectable in urine tests.


Bladder cancer is caused by abnormal cells in the bladder that begin to multiply at an alarming rate. This is usually the result of a cell mutation. The abnormal cells multiply and form a tumour that can grow and spread. Bladder cancer can metastasise, i.e., it can spread to other parts of the body. Bladder cancer is classified into various types based on the type of tissue cells in which the cancer originates – Urothelial carcinoma (inner bladder lining), Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.

Risk factors

Family history of bladder cancer, a smoking habit and previous cancer treatments can increase a patient’s risk of developing bladder cancer. Repeated bladder infections can also increase a patient’s risk of bladder cancer. Men of an advanced age appear to be the most high-risk demographic. Exposure to certain heavy industrial chemicals like arsenic and lead can also increase a person’s risk of developing bladder cancer.


Advanced bladder cancer can be fatal.


Tests and procedures used to diagnose bladder cancer include a cystoscopy to visualise the tumour endoscopically, a biopsy of the tumour, urine cytology and a series of imaging tests including a CT scan and X-ray scans.


The treatment for bladder cancer is customised according to the patient and the stage the cancer has progressed to. The treatment program could include a combination of surgery to remove the tumour, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy.


There is no 100% effective method to prevent bladder cancer. However, minimising risk factors can help reduce the chances of getting bladder cancer.

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