by Michael Jubinville, MPH
The bladder's in the pelvis. It's a hollow, muscular organ. It stores urine until you pass it from the body. Bladder cancer is cancer in this organ.
There are 3 main types:
Cancer is when cells in the body split without control or order. These cells go on to form a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to harmful growths. These growths attack nearby tissues. They also spread to other parts of the body. It's not clear exactly what causes these problems. It’s likely a mix of genes and the environment.
The chances of bladder cancer are higher for:
Problems may not appear right away. In those that have them, they may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You may also have:
The exam and your test results will help find out the stage of cancer you have. Staging guides your treatment. Bladder cancer is staged from 0-4. Stage 0 is a very localized cancer. Stage 4 is a spread to other parts of the body.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options are based on the stage of your cancer. You may have one or more of the following:
Surgery will remove the tumor and nearby tissue. Options include:
A path for the urine to be passed from the body may be made through the belly wall. It depends on how extensive the surgery was. This will allow urine to be stored and passed out of the body in a different manner.
Radiation therapy is the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It may be:
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It may given by mouth, shots, or IV. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
For some, it can be given right into the bladder. This is called intravesical chemotherapy.
Biologic therapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances are made by the body or in a lab. They’re placed right into the bladder to boost, direct, or restore the body’s defenses. This type is used only for shallow, low grade cancer that was taken out.
To help lower your chances of bladder cancer:
American Cancer Society
United Ostomy Associations of America
Canadian Cancer Society
Ostomy Canada Society
Bladder cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/bladder-cancer.html. Accessed July 23, 2018.
Bladder cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115106/Bladder-cancer . Updated June 26, 2018. Accessed July 23, 2018.
Bladder cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/bladder-cancer. Updated October 2017. Accessed July 26, 2018.
Bladder cancer. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at:
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Accessed July 23, 2018.
General information about bladder cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at
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Updated July 7, 2016. Accessed July 23, 2018.
7/21/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115106/Bladder-cancer : Sun JW, Zhao LG, Ma X, Wang YY, Xiang YB. Obesity and risk of bladder cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis of 15 cohort studies. PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0119313.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 7/23/2018
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