Overview

The bladder is one of the body’s organs located at the lower abdominal area which holds the urine. The bladder cells, also known as urothelial cells, can also be seen in the kidneys and the ureters. When these cells become malignant, it leads to a typical type of cancer, more common in the bladder.

Bladder cancers are most likely treatable when diagnosed at an early stage, but there is a possibility of recurrence even though it was treated early. Hence, follow up check-ups to detect any recurrence are usually required for years even after treatment.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer are as follows:

  • Hematuria or blood in the urine. The appearance of the urine could range from clear or normal (only laboratory test can detect blood) up to a bright or very dark red color.
  • Urinary frequency
  • Dysuria (painful urination)
  • Back pain

Causes

The mutation of the bladder’s DNA marks the beginning of bladder cancer which causes the mutated DNA to instruct the cells to rapidly multiply. The cancer cells will keep on living but the healthy cells die. Continuous multiplication of cancer cells grows and create a tumor, which invades and destructs the normal body tissues. As time goes by, cancer cells spread to other parts of the body, also known as metastasis.

Risk factors

Factors that may increase bladder cancer risk include:

  • Old age (more than 55 years old)
  • Gender (mostly male)
  • Chemicals exposure (arsenic and chemical substances in textiles, paints, leather, dye industry)
  • Smoking
  • Has previously undergone cancer treatment (treatment with cyclophosphamide, radiation therapy to the pelvis)
  • Persistent inflammation/infection of the bladder
  • Family history of cancer.