Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the body, and these cells lump together to create tumors. This can happen in the bladder, and the most common form of bladder cancer is urothelial carcinoma, which starts in the tissue lining the bladder. The bladder is a hollow balloon shape located in the lower abdomen, which stores urine before it exits the body through the urethra.
Smoking, exposure to chemicals, long lasting bladder infections, radiation, high levels of arsenic in drinking water, and certain medications have the potential to cause bladder cancer.
Blood visible in the urine is the most common symptom, and it is often a sign of the early stages of bladder cancer. Other less common symptoms include frequent urination that may be painful, a slow or intermittent urine stream, and abdominal pain.
Many tests are necessary to diagnose bladder cancer. A urologist will run a urine examination to check for blood and abnormal chromosomes in the urine under a microscope. A urologist may also check for biomarkers that will indicate bladder cancer, as well as perform tests that allow them to get an inside view of the bladder. Two of these tests are ultrasound and cystoscopy, which allows the urologist to view the inside of the bladder from a small, flexible scope.
Immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgical removal of the cancerous tissue are all possible treatments for bladder cancer, and the chosen treatment will depend on the specific stage and case that is present.