The bladder is the container in the abdomen that holds urine. When the bladder contracts, urine is sent out of the body.
Causes and Risk Factors
Smoking is the greatest risk factor for bladder cancer. People who frequently get bladder infections and bladder stones are also at greater risk. Men are three times more likely to get bladder cancer than women.
- Red blood cells in the urine. Usually this is discovered when a urine specimen is sent out for a routine test. The patient's urine may also look bloody.
- Pain and burning during urination and/or the urgent need to urinate may indicate later stages of the disease.
- Bladder infections that don't go away after taking drugs may mean that cancer is present.
- X-rays can help identify bladder cancer.
- Ultrasound (using sound waves to see inside the body), computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans done while examining a patient for an unrelated problem sometimes reveal a growth in the bladder.
- A sample tissue (biopsy) of the suspicious area may be taken for examination under the microscope. Sometimes, the entire cancer is removed at the same time.
Treatment for bladder cancer may include:
- Cystoscopy, a method of using a special instrument for looking at the bladder
- Anti-cancer drugs or substances that boost the immune system
- Surgical removal of all or part of the bladder