Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the cells of the bladder, the organ that stores urine in the body. It typically starts in the inner lining of the bladder and can spread to nearby tissues or other parts of the body. Worldwide, bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer diagnosed in men and it is the tenth most common cancer in both genders combined. People of all ages can develop bladder cancer, but those 55 and older are at higher risk, and men are more likely to develop it. Bladder cancer has the highest recurrence rate of any cancer, making early detection paramount in improving health outcomes.

Risk factors that increase your chances of developing bladder cancer include tobacco smoking, chronic infections of the bladder, previous pelvic radiation, occupational exposure to certain chemicals and family history.


The signs and symptoms of bladder cancer include:
  • Blood in the urine
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections (especially above the age of 60)
  • Blockage of the kidneys or renal failure
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Bone pain
  • Loss of appetite


Bladder cancer is typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination and various diagnostic tests. The diagnostic process for bladder cancer may include the following:

Cystoscopy: Cystoscopy is a procedure in which a thin tube with a light and a camera (cystoscope) is inserted through the urethra into the bladder to directly visualize the bladder lining and detect any abnormalities, such as tumors. This is the gold standard procedure for the diagnosis of bladder cancer.

Urine tests: A urine sample can be collected and analyzed to determine if blood, cancer cells, or other abnormal substances are present.

Imaging tests: A computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, or ultrasound can be used to assess the size, location and extent of the tumor in the bladder and surrounding structures.

Biopsy/Resection of Bladder Tumour: A small sample of tissue (biopsy) is removed from the tumor (or the tumor is completely removed )to confirm the presence of cancer cells and assess its type, stage, and grade.


As an integrated cancer center, SSMC offers comprehensive management options for bladder cancer, such as endoscopic resection, staging procedures, intravesical treatments and Robotic Assisted Radical Cystectomy.

Choosing the appropriate treatment for patients depends on the type, risk group and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient's overall health and individual circumstances. Common treatment options for bladder cancer include:

Surgery: Transurethral resection of bladder tumors (TURBT) involves removing tumors from the bladder's inner lining. In cases where the cancer has invaded the muscle layer of the bladder or is more advanced and high-risk, radical cystectomy is a curative option.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the use of medications that kill or inhibit the growth of cancer cells. If the cancer is superficial, chemotherapy will be administered directly to the bladder, but if the disease is muscle-invasive or metastatic, chemotherapy will be given intravenously.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy involves treating cancer cells by stimulating the patient’s immune system. An immunotherapy known as Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), given directly into the bladder, induces an immune response against cancer cells. Systemic immunotherapy is also emerging as an option for treating certain advanced bladder cancers.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to target and destroy cancer cells. It is considered a curative option in localized muscle-invasive bladder cancer and can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemotherapy.

Quitting smoking will significantly reduce your risk of developing bladder cancer. A urologist should be consulted if any of the above symptoms are present, particularly blood in the urine. It is vital to conduct long-term surveillance in order to detect recurrences of cancer.

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