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Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer at a Glance

  • The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen (pelvis). It collects and stores urine produced by the kidneys.
  • Risk factors for bladder cancer include smoking; workplace chemicals in the dye, rubber, chemical, metal, textile, and leather industries; personal or family history of bladder cancer; arsenic in drinking water (not a problem in the U.S.); certain cancer treatments. also at risk are hairdressers, machinists, printers, painters, and truck drivers.
  • Symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in the urine, feeling an urgent need to empty the bladder, frequent urination, inability to empty bladder, straining or pain during urination.
  • Four main treatments that have shown success against bladder cancer: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and biologic therapy.

The bladder is part of the urinary tract. Urine passes from each kidney into the bladder through a long tube called a ureter. Urine leaves the bladder through a shorter tube, the urethra. The wall of the bladder has three layers, inner, middle and outer.

About Bladder Cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the bladder is called Bladder Cancer. In 2010, estimated new cases and deaths from bladder cancer in the United States are 70,530 and 14,680 respectively.

An abnormal buildup of extra cells sometimes forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor. Tumors in the bladder can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Benign tumors are not as harmful as malignant tumors. Bladder cancer cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumor. They can spread through the blood vessels to the liver, lungs, and bones. In addition, bladder cancer cells can spread through lymph vessels to nearby lymph nodes.

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease. Studies have found the following risk factors for bladder cancer:

Smoking: Smoking causes most of the cases of bladder cancer. People who smoke for many years have a higher risk than nonsmokers or those who smoke for a short time.

Chemicals in the workplace: Some people have a higher risk of bladder cancer because of cancer-causing chemicals in their workplace. Workers in the dye, rubber, chemical, metal, textile, and leather industries may be at risk of bladder cancer. Also at risk are hairdressers, machinists, printers, painters, and truck drivers.

Personal history of bladder cancer: People who have had bladder cancer have an increased risk of getting the disease again.

Certain cancer treatments: People with cancer who have been treated with certain drugs (such as cyclophosphamide) may be at increased risk of bladder cancer. Also, people who have had radiation therapy to the abdomen or pelvis may be at increased risk.

Arsenic: Arsenic is a poison that increases the risk of bladder cancer. In some areas of the world, arsenic may be found at high levels in drinking water. However, the United States has safety measures limiting the arsenic level in public drinking water.

Family history of bladder cancer: People with family members who have bladder cancer have a slightly increased risk of the disease.

If you have symptoms, increased risk factors or have recently been diagnosed with Bladder Cancer, contact us to request an appointment with Diablo Valley Oncology’s physicians.