Bladder Cancer is the 7th most common cancer in the UK with more than 10,000 new cases diagnosed every year. More than 75% of the cases are diagnosed early in its superficial non invasive pattern. If diagnosed early, bladder cancer can be cured with bladder preservation surgery and treatment.
Bladder cancer is more common in men, although women can present later in life and occasionally have may have a more concerning prognosis. However, thanks to new technologies and advanced new techniques in the surgical field promising results are being achieved.
Causes of bladder cancer
The causes of bladder cancer are not yet well understood by medical scientists. There is a very high correlation between smoking and bladder cancer. In addition, people who work in heavy industries such as chemical, printing and rubber are also at risk.
Other hereditary, environmental and genetic factors have also been linked to the occurrence of bladder cancer. However, no conclusive information is available. Repeated urinary tract infections and bladder or kidney stones (which can cause infection) have also been linked to bladder cancer. Similarly, the risk is increased by previous radiotherapy to the pelvic area for treating another kind of cancer and treatment with the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide.
When diagnosed with bladder cancer it may be frustrating not to be able to isolate a cause for your condition. Your GP and our expert consultants will be able to discuss these worries and feelings further with you which you may find helpful.
Most bladder cancers are superficial and therefore only affect the lining of the bladder wall. However, if not diagnosed, or left untreated, they can grow and spread deeper into the muscle layer of the bladder wall.
Bladder Cancer Symptoms
The most common symptoms include:
Haematuria (Blood in the urine) - this will usually happen suddenly and painlessly and may come and go. Sometimes you can not see the blood in your urine but it can be picked up on a routine urine test.
Bladder changes - bladder irritation may cause a feeling of burning when you void or a feeling of wanting to void often and/or urgently. These symptoms are more common with a normal infection but, if they do not settle after treatment with antibiotics, further tests may be needed. More common bladder problems such as infection or stones may cause the above symptoms and most people won't have bladder cancer.