Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the bladder, which is a hollow organ in the pelvis that stores urine. It is the sixth most common cancer in the United States and is more commonly diagnosed in men than in women. Most bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage when the cancer is highly treatable. However, bladder cancer is known to reoccur, making follow-up testing after treatment necessary.
What causes bladder cancer?
There are no known causes of bladder cancer, but several factors can increase the risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Age, those over 55
- Male gender
- Occupational exposure, such as those that involve exposure to chemicals like benzidine and beta-naphthalene
- Radiation exposure
- Personal or family history
Bladder cancer symptoms
The symptoms of bladder cancer can vary depending on the stage of the disease. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, speak with your primary care provider to determine the cause.
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Urgency to urinate
- Lower back pain
- Pelvic pain
- Weight loss
Bladder cancer screenings and diagnosis
There is no standard screening test for bladder cancer, but there are several tests that can be used to diagnose the disease. These include:
- Urine cytology
Bladder cancer treatment and surgery
The treatment for bladder cancer depends on the stage and grade of the cancer, as well as the person’s overall health. Based on that information, an oncologist may use one or more treatment options.
- Radiation therapy
The multidisciplinary team at St. Luke’s Health—consisting of oncologists, primary care providers, radiologists, and other specialists—works with patients to recommend a treatment plan customized to their specific situation. Talk to your primary care provider for more information.