Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that begins in your bladder — a balloon-shaped organ in your pelvic area that stores urine.
Bladder cancer begins most often in the cells that line the inside of the bladder. According to the American Cancer Society, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in males, but it's less common in females. Bladder cancer typically affects older adults, though it can occur at any age.
Bladder cancer can often be found early because it causes blood in the urine or other urinary symptoms that cause a person to see a healthcare provider.
These symptoms are more likely to be caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder stones, an overactive bladder, or an enlarged prostate (in men). Still, it’s important to have them checked by a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated if needed.
Symptoms of advanced bladder cancer include:
A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed. Others, like your age or family history, can’t be changed.
But having a risk factor, or even several risk factors, does not mean that you will get the disease. And some people who get the disease may have few or no known risk factors. For bladder cancer, risk factors include:
The great majority of bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage — when bladder cancer is highly treatable. However, even early-stage bladder cancer is likely to recur. For this reason, bladder cancer survivors often undergo follow-up tests for years after treatment to look for bladder cancer recurrence.
Many times, the best option might include more than one of type of treatment. Surgery, alone or with other treatments, is used to treat most bladder cancers.
Common treatment options include: