What is Bladder Cancer?

  • Bladder cancer begins when cells in the urinary bladder start to grow uncontrollably. As more cancer cells develop, they can form a tumor and spread to other areas of the body.
  • The bladder is a hollow organ in the pelvis with flexible, muscular walls. Its main function is to store urine before it leaves the body. Urine is made by the kidneys and is then carried to the bladder through tubes called ureters.
  • When you urinate, the muscles in the bladder contract, and urine is forced out of the bladder through a tube called the urethra.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

  • Blood or blood clots in the urine
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate many times throughout the night
  • Feeling the need to urinate, but not being able to pass urine
  • Lower back pain on one side of the body

Causes of Bladder Cancer

  • Bladder defects from birth
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • Chronic bladder infections and irritations
  • Exposure to certain chemicals including aromatic amines
  • Low fluid consumption
  • Personal or family history of bladder cancer
  • Being male and/or white (women have lower rates of bladder cancer, as do AfricanAmericans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, and Native Americans
  • Some medications and dietary supplements – pioglitazone (Actos) and aristolochic
    acid (mainly from plants in the Aristolochiafamily)
  • Exposure to arsenic in drinking water (not normally a problem in the US).

Links to some studies regarding Bladder Cancer

The Effect of Intravesical Mitomycin C on Recurrence of Newly Diagnosed Superficial Bladder Cancer: A Further Report with 7 Years of Followup

A Combined Analysis of European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, and Medical Research
Council Randomized Clinical Trials for the Prophylactic Treatment of Stage TaT1 Bladder Cancer