Bladder cancer is a potentially aggressive tumor that arises from the cells that line the inside of the bladder – the part of your body that holds and releases urine. Bladder cancer can occur at any age, but most commonly affects older adults.
There are several types of bladder cancer, including urothelial carcinoma (also known as transitional cell carcinoma), squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Treatment depends on the stage at the time of diagnosis and may include biopsies, medication administered inside the bladder, chemotherapy, radiation and/or removal of the bladder and associated organs.
There are several symptoms of bladder cancer. Some common ones include:
It is important to see your doctor if any of the above symptoms persist. In some cases these symptoms may suggest bladder cancer, but they can also be signs of another health condition.
If you have symptoms of bladder cancer or your doctor suspects you may have a form of it, he or she may order tests to confirm a diagnosis. Some common tests may include:
If you are diagnosed with bladder cancer, your doctor will then determine the stage of the cancer. This may involve additional imaging tests.
Bladder cancer is highly treatable if detected at an early stage.
Typically, surgery to remove the tumor or the affected part of the bladder is the initial treatment. If the cancer has invaded the deeper layers of the bladder wall, your doctor may consider removing the entire bladder or creating a new way for urine to leave the body. Other treatments may include biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.