Bladder Cancer

The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine, which passes from each kidney into the bladder through a tube called a ureter.

Risk Factors

  • Age — The chance of getting bladder cancer goes up as people get older, whereas people under 40 rarely get this disease.
  • Family History — People with family members who have bladder cancer are more likely to get the disease.
  • Gender — Men are two to three times more likely than women to develop bladder cancer.
  • Infections — Becoming infected with certain parasites common in tropical areas can raise the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Personal History — People who have had bladder cancer have an increased chance of getting the disease again.
  • Occupation — Some workers have a higher risk of getting bladder cancer because of carcinogens in the workplace.
  • Race — Whites get bladder cancer twice as often as African Americans and Hispanics. The lowest rates are among Asians.
  • Tobacco — Cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely than nonsmokers to get bladder cancer. Pipe and cigar smokers are also at increased risk.
  • Treatments — Treatments using cyclophosphamide or arsenic raise the risk of bladder cancer.

Symptoms

Symptoms include blood in the urine, pain during urination and frequent urination or feeling the need to urinate without results.

Diagnosis

If you have symptoms that suggest bladder cancer, you may undergo one or more of the following procedures:

  • Physical Exam — The doctor feels the abdomen and pelvis for tumors. The exam may include a rectal or vaginal exam.
  • Cystoscopy — The doctor uses a thin, lighted blue tube to look directly into the bladder. The procedure may require the patient to undergo anesthesia.
  • Intravenous Pyelogram — The doctor injects dye into a blood vessel. The dye collects in the urine, making the bladder show up on X-rays.
  • Urine Tests — The laboratory checks the urine for blood, cancer cells and other signs of disease.

Source: National Cancer Institute