Bladder Cancer

Who is at risk?

Cigarette smoking is the number 1 cause of bladder cancer. By giving up the use of tobacco products, people can significantly lessen the risk of developing bladder cancer in the future.

Other factors which may be associated with bladder cancer include:

Schistosomiasis – this parasitic infection is associated with bladder cancer because it irritates the bladder wall.

Signs and Symptoms

Usually, the first and only sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, usually in the absence of pain. Urine color can vary from one day and not reappear for days, weeks or months. Other signs include frequent urination, strong urges to urinate and discomfort or burning during urinating; if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, see a physician.


Most bladder cancer is treated by surgery. Single papillary tumours generally can be removed during cystoscopy. A small wire loop attached to the end of the instrument encircles the stem of the tumour, snips it off and cauterizes (kills cells by electric current) the tissue lying underneath. The tumour is removed from the bladder along with the cystoscope. Patients with papillary tumours usually have cystoscopies at regular intervals to look for and excise new growth if they appear.
Patients with more invasive and aggressive bladder cancer sometimes require surgical removal of their bladders. This procedure is called a cystectomy. When the bladder is taken out, it is replaced with a short section of the patient?s small intestine. The urethras which carry urine from the kidney to the bladder are attached to one end of this new pouch: the other end of the pouch is attached to the lover urinary passage to allow near normal urination or to the abdominal wall, near the navel, where it forms an opening called a stoma. A bag is placed over the stoma and removes the urine.


Therapy can also be used to treat bladder cancer. It rarely interferes with potency in males or with urinary control in both sexes.


A catheter is inserted and a chemotherapeutic agent is passed into the bladder: it stays there for a few hours and soaks the lining of the bladder. This procedure may be repeated to reduce the risk of developing new tumours. It is also given intravenously when cancer cells from the bladder have spread to other parts of the body.