What Is Bladder Cancer:

Bladder cancer is an abnormal, uncontrolled growth of the bladder cells that can be caused by various factors such as genetic or environmental factors. Cigarette smoking, male gender, a parasitic infection of the urinary bladder and some anticancer drugs are thought to increase the risk of developing cancer of the bladder. 


Non-muscle invasive bladder cancers account for approximately three-fourths of all newly diagnosed bladder cancers and can be subdivided into low grade and high-grade disease.


Signs and Symptoms:

  • Blood in urine (hematuria)

  • Painful urination

  • Pelvic pain

  • Back pain

  • Frequent urination


Keep in mind these symptoms may occur because of something other than bladder cancer.  There might be times your urine might not look any different. However, if your urine is bright red or cola colored you may need to have a microscopic exam of the urine.


Make sure to consult with your doctor to get signs and symptoms checked out.  It may also be recommended to see a Urologist who is a medical professional who specializes in disorders and cancers of the bladder.  

A low-grade disease usually lacks the tendency to progress into muscle-invasive disease and remains somewhat sluggish and not threatening to survival despite its tendency for frequent recurrence.


A high-grade disease can progress to muscle invasion, which carries a significantly worse prognosis and will require the need for aggressive therapy to eradicate the disease from the bladder.


I have a busy, active life, I wear what I like, no longer self -conscious about my bag. In 2017 I even did a tandem skydive with the Red Devils to raise money for Bladder Cancer awareness. Life is good.


Newly Diagnosed Bladder Cancer Patient:


In assessing the performance of current diagnosis for bladder cancer, the patient ought to be open and free with his or her doctor. They should disclose all symptoms to enable the cancer to be treated in its early stages before developing further.  Additionally, the patient ought to seek a second opinion just as a formality and seek any other clarity and lay to rest any doubts they may have. 

Risk Factors For Bladder Cancer


Chemical Exposure: Some chemicals used in the making of dye have been linked to bladder cancer.  People who work with chemicals called aromatic amines may have a higher risk.  These chemicals are used in making rubber, leather, printing materials textiles and paint products.


Smoking: The use of tobacco of any kind.


Race: Caucasians are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as are African Americans or Hispanics.  


Gender: While men get bladder cancer more often than women, recent statistics show an increase in the number of women being diagnosed with bladder cancer.  


Chronic Bladder Inflammation: Urinary infections, kidney stones, and bladder stones don't cause bladder cancer, but have been linked to it.


Personal History of Bladder Cancer: People who have had bladder cancer have a higher chance of getting another tumor in their urinary system.  People whose family members have had bladder cancer may also have a higher riks.


Arsenic: Arsenic in drinking water has been linked to a higher risk of bladder cancer.



Familial Bladder Cancer: Bladder cancer can run in families. In the U.S., the average lifetime risk for bladder cancer is about 2% (one in 43). Having a parent or sibling with bladder cancer increases the risk two- to three-fold (Hemminki et al., 2011). Bladder cancer can cluster in families because of shared environments, such as smoking. Studies have found many genetic risk factors for bladder cancer. These genes include those that code for proteins that process chemicals (e.g., GSTM1, NAT2) and those that code for DNA repair proteins (e.g., ERRC2, NBN). The effect of variants in these genes, however, is weak, and they probably do not clearly explain strong family clusters of bladder cancer. Some hereditary cancer syndromes involve bladder cancer, although other types of cancers are more common in these syndromes. Individuals with Lynch Syndrome – the most common cause of hereditary colon and endometrial cancers – may have a four- to seven-fold increased risk for bladder cancer (van der Post et al., 2010). Persons with hereditary retinoblastoma – a childhood eye cancer – may have higher risk of bladder cancer (Fletcher et al., 2004; Marees et al., 2008). Adolescents and young adults with Costello syndrome have higher risk for urinary bladder cancer; individuals with Costello syndrome often have short stature, large head size, intellectual disability, heart defects, and risk for rhabdomyosarcoma and neuroblastoma. Currently though, we do not know of a high-risk genetic cause specifically for bladder cancer. For many people, knowing family history may be the best guide to finding out if they have hereditary bladder cancer risk.




Advice to patients: Don’t shut everyone out; don’t hold your feeling in; do not be afraid to accept or ask for help.


Stages Of Bladder Cancer

Doctors will assign the stage of bladder cancer by combining the TNM (tumor, node, & metastasis) System: 


Stage 0a: This is early cancer that is only found on the surface of the inner lining of the bladder. Cancer cells are grouped and can often be efficiently removed. Cancer has not invaded the muscle of the bladder wall. This type of bladder cancer is also called noninvasive papillary urothelial carcinoma


Stage 0is: This stage of cancer, also known as flat or CIS, is found only on the inner lining of the bladder. It has not grown in toward the hollow part of the bladder, and it has not spread to the thick layer of muscle or connective tissue of the bladder (Tis, N0, M0). This is always high-grade cancer (see Grades, below) and is considered an aggressive disease because it can often lead to muscle-invasive disease.


Stage I: cancer has grown through the inner lining of the bladder into the lamina propria. It has not spread to the thick layer of muscle in the bladder wall or lymph nodes or other organs (T1, N0, M0).


Stage II: cancer has spread into the thick muscle wall of the bladder. It is also called invasive cancer or muscle-invasive cancer. The tumor has not reached the fatty tissue surrounding the bladder and has not spread to the lymph nodes or other organs (T2, N0, M0).






Types Of Bladder Cancer

1.    Transitional cell bladder cancer

It is sometimes referred to as urothelial cancer. It develops from the cells of the bladder lining. These are termed as transitional cells. It occurs when the bladder is empty the cells bunch together while when the bladder is full, they stretch out into a single layer. Finally, they come into contact with the waste products such as chemicals from cigarette smoke in the urine leading to cancer. However, the transitional cell bladder cancer can behave differently. The early cancers are those that have not invaded the deeper layers of the bladder while the invasive cancers are those that have invaded the bladder. It is essential to know which kind the patient has because they are treated differently.


2.    Non muscle-invasive bladder cancer

The cancer is only in the lining of the bladder. It has not grown into the deeper layers of the bladder wall. Cancer usually gives the impression it is a small growth shaped like mushrooms. However, some of the removed cells are likely to reappear. These include carcinoma in situ and high-grade T1 tumor.





3.    Invasive bladder cancer

This stage means the growth is in the thicker layer of the bladder. Some patient gets this as the first cancer diagnosis. It needs intensive treatment due to the risk of spreading to other parts of the body. 


4.    Rare types of bladder cancer

a). Sarcomas

It is different cancer within the bladder muscles and other structural tissues outside the bladder lining. It is called sarcoma since it starts in the bladder muscles.


b). Small cell cancer of the bladder

It is a rare type of bladder cancer that requires either chemotherapy and surgery It helps the doctor to decide which treatment the patient needs. The type of bladder cancer is used where the type of cell the cancer started.





Diagnostic and Surveillance Of Bladder Cancer

There many reports used in bladder cancer diagnosis. However, the most common means are cystoscopy exams that involve a biopsy, use of local anesthetic, CT urogram, ultrasound, or an intravenous urogram. These tests are conducted after seeing your doctor, who can recommend various other criteria, such as urine sample tests and internal examinations. Often the patient is referred to a specialist who will ask and screen to confirm a diagnosis of blood cancer


What is a Cystoscopy


Cystoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of your bladder and the tube that carries urine out of your body (urethra).  A hollow tube equipped with a lens is inserted into your urethra and slowly advanced into your bladder.


Cystoscopy may be done in a testing room, using a local anesthetic jelly to numb your urethra or it may be done as an outpatient procedure, with sedation.  Another option is to have a cystoscopy in the hospital during general anesthesia.  The type of cystoscopy you'll have depends on the reason for your procedure.

Cystoscopy is used to diagnose, monitor and treat conditions affecting the bladder and urethra.  Your doctor might recommend a cystoscopy to:

Why It's Done

Investigate causes of signs and Symptoms.

Those signs and symptoms can include blood in the urine, incontinence, overactive bladder, and painful urination.  Cystoscopy can also help determine the cause of frequent urinary tract infections. 


Diagnose bladder disease and conditions:

Examples include bladder cancer, bladder stones, and bladder inflammation.





Treat bladder disease and conditions:

Special tools can be passed through the cystoscope to treat certain conditions. For example, tiny bladder tumors might be removed during cystoscopy.


Need more information about Cystoscopy procedure? consult with your doctor or urologist.  Is their information we should add about cystoscopies, please email us and let us know.





Learn more about bladder cancer treatment options to include immunotherapy, surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation.  

This video is provided by the Urology Care Foundation

Grades Of Bladder Cancer

The categories are a method used to determine how much of the cancer cells look like on healthy cells. Doctors use these grades to determine how the cancer might behave as well as the treatment method needed.  In find these cancer cells, tissue samples are taken and examined under a microscope. The three known grade used for bladder cancer are: 


Grade 1- the cancer cells look like normal cells. They can be described as low grade and tend to grow slowly and stay in the lining of the bladder.


Grade 2- the cancer is slightly abnormal and is moderately differentiated. They are more likely to spread into the deeper muscles layer of the bladder. 


Grade 3- the cancer looks very abnormal. They are high grade or poorly differentiated. The cells grow more quickly and have spread into the deeper layers of the bladder. 





Another way of describing bladder cancer grades is being either low grade or high grade. Low grade is determined using facts that are grade 1 and high grade as grade 3, while grade 2 can be split into either low or high grade. 


A patient diagnosed with bladder cancer cells that are high grade, they will need further treatment to stop the cancer from recurring once removed.  


The third grading system is dictated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) grades. It divides bladder cancer into four groups. Namely: urothelial papilloma meaning a benign tumor; papillary urothelial neoplasm of low malignant potential meaning it is slow-growing cancer that is unlikely to spread; low grade papillary urothelial carcinoma involving the slow-growing cancer is unlikely to cover and finally high-grade papillary carcinoma meaning it is fast-growing cancer with a possibility of spreading 


Printable or Download Resources

Muscle Invasive

Bladder Cancer

Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer - What you should know

Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer - What you should know

 Diagnosing & Treating Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer

Women's Urology Health Care

The following resources are used with permission from the Urology Care Foundation 



Bladder Cancer Source:

Badrinath R. Konety, B. R. K., & Sam S. Chang, S. S. C. (2015, January 1). Management of Bladder Cancer - A Comprehensive Text With Clinical Scenarios | Badrinath R Konety | Springer.,from https://www.springer.com/us/book/9781493918805



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