This cancer typically affects older adults. it’s always diagnosed early, when it’s still treatable. It’s likely to recur, so follow-up tests are typically recommended.
The most common symptom is blood within the urine.
Treatments include surgery, biological therapy and chemotherapy.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

ON THIS PAGE: Learn about physical changes and other things that could indicate a problem that may require medical attention. Use the menu to view other pages.

People with bladder cancer may have the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes people with bladder cancer don’t have any of these changes. Or the cause of a symptom can be another disease that is not cancer.

Blood or clots in the urine

Pain or burning sensation when urinating

Frequent urination

Feel the need to urinate several times during the night

Feel the need to urinate but not be able to urinate

Lower back pain on one side of the body

Most commonly, bladder cancer is diagnosed after a person tells their doctor about the presence of blood in the urine, which is also known as hematuria. “Gross hematuria” means that there is enough blood in the urine for the patient to see. It is also possible that there may be small amounts of blood in the urine that are not visible. This is known as “microscopic hematuria” and can only be determined with a urine test.

General urine tests are not used to make a specific diagnosis of bladder cancer because hematuria can be a sign of several other conditions that are not cancer, such as infection or kidney stones. Cytology is a type of urine test used to detect cancer. This test looks at the urine for cancer cells under a microscope (see Diagnosis for more information).

Sometimes by the time the symptoms of bladder cancer first appear, the cancer has already spread to another part of the body. In this situation, symptoms will depend on where the cancer has spread. For example, cancer that has spread to the lungs can cause coughing or shortness of breath, spreading to the liver can cause abdominal pain or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), and spreading to the bones can cause bone pain or a fracture (Broken bone). Other symptoms of advanced bladder cancer can include back or pelvic pain, unexplained loss of appetite, and weight loss.

If you are concerned about changes, please speak to your doctor. Your doctor will ask you how long and how often you have had the symptoms, in addition to other questions. This is to help determine the cause of the problem, known as diagnosis.

When cancer is diagnosed, symptom relief remains an important part of cancer care and management. This can be referred to as palliative or supportive care. It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk to your medical team about any symptoms you are experiencing, including any new symptoms or changes in symptoms.

The next section of this guide is Diagnostics. It explains what tests may be needed to find out more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose another section to read in this guide.


The cause of bladder cancer is unknown, but genetic mutations can play a role.

Smoking tobacco and exposure to chemicals can cause mutations that lead to bladder cancer. These effects can affect people in different ways: Smokers are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers. Increased age. Be a man. Exposure to certain chemicals.

Scientists don’t consider genetics to be the main cause of bladder cancer. However, they suggest that these factors could make a person more sensitive to the effects of tobacco and certain industrial chemicals.


Transitional cell carcinoma
Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer. It begins in the transition cells of the inner bladder layer. Transitional cells are cells that change shape without being damaged when the tissue is stretched.

Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is a rare type of cancer in the United States. It starts when thin, flat squamous cells form in the bladder after a long-term infection or bladder irritation.

Adenocarcinoma is a rare cancer in the United States too. It starts when gland cells form in the bladder after long-term irritation and inflammation of the bladder. Gland cells make up the mucus secreting glands in the body.

Papillary Carcinoma: Develops as finger-like protrusions from the inner surface of the bladder to the hollow center. Often these tumors are referred to as non-invasive papillary cancers, which means that they do not grow into the deeper layers of the bladder wall. When papillary TBI is very low grade, it can be called low malignant papillary neoplasm, and treatments usually have positive results.

Flat cancer: This type of TBI does not develop outside of the urothelium towards the center of the bladder. In contrast, flat carcinomas remain on the surface of the bladder wall. If a flat carcinoma is confined to the urothelium, it is called a non-invasive flat carcinoma or a flat carcinoma in situ.

Less common forms of bladder cancer are:
Small cell carcinoma is extremely rare, accounting for less than 1% of all bladder cancers diagnosed in the United States. This type of bladder cancer starts in neuroendocrine cells that are similar to nerves.
Sarcoma is another very rare type of bladder cancer that starts in the muscle layer of the bladder wall.


In most cases, treatment for bladder cancer is based on the clinical stage of the tumor at the time of initial diagnosis. This includes how deep it should have penetrated the bladder wall and whether it has spread beyond the bladder. Other factors such as the size of the tumor, the rapid growth of cancer cells (grade), and a person’s general health and preferences also influence treatment options.

The main forms of treatment for bladder cancer include one or more of the following:

biological therapy
Treatment depends on several factors, including:

Transurethral Resection (TUR): A surgeon can use this method to treat stage 0 and 1 bladder cancer. You insert a cutting tool into the bladder to remove small tumors and abnormal tissue. They also burn off any remaining cancer cells.
Cystectomy: If the cancer is larger or has spread deeper into the bladder, a surgeon may perform a cystectomy, which involves removing all or just the cancerous tissue.
Reconstructive surgery: This procedure after a cystectomy can help the body hold back and move urine. A surgeon can use intestinal tissue to reconstruct the bladder or surrounding tubes.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to fight and kill cancer cells or shrink tumors, and allows a surgeon to use a less invasive procedure.
Chemotherapy can also treat cancer before or after surgery. People can take these drugs orally, intravenously, or by injection into the bladder through a catheter (after TUR).
The cancer has progressed during or after platinum-based chemotherapy.
The cancer has progressed within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy with platinum-based chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy is a less common procedure for bladder cancer. Doctors may recommend it in conjunction with chemotherapy.
It can help kill cancer that has grown in the muscle wall of the bladder. This can be useful for people who cannot be operated on.
Find out more about chemotherapy here.

Biological therapy
Treating bladder cancer early on could include boosting the immune system to fight cancer cells. This is known as biological therapy or immunotherapy.
The most common form of biological therapy is Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) therapy. A healthcare professional uses a catheter to introduce these bacteria into the bladder.
The bacterium attracts and activates cells of the immune system, which are then able to fight off existing bladder cancer cells. This treatment usually takes place weekly for 6 weeks and often starts shortly after a TUR.
BCG’s side effects can be similar to those of the flu, such as fever and fatigue. A burning sensation in the bladder may also occur.
Interferon is another biological therapy option. The immune system enables this protein to fight infection, and a synthetic version can fight bladder cancer, sometimes combined with BCG.


ON THIS PAGE: You can find a list of common tests, procedures, and scans that doctors use to determine the cause of a medical problem. Use the menu to view other pages.

Doctors use many tests to detect or diagnose cancer. They also do tests to find out if the cancer has spread to another part of the body from where it started. In this case one speaks of metastasis. For example, imaging tests can show whether the cancer has spread. Imaging tests show pictures of the inside of the body. Doctors can also run tests to find out which treatments might work best.

For most cancers, the only safe way for the doctor to determine if cancer is present in any area of ​​the body is a biopsy. During a biopsy, the doctor takes a small sample of tissue to test in a laboratory. If a biopsy isn’t possible, the doctor may suggest other tests to help with the diagnosis.

This section describes the diagnostic options for this type of cancer. Not all of the tests listed below will be used for every person. Your doctor may consider the following factors when choosing a diagnostic test:

The type of cancer suspected

Your signs and symptoms

Your age and general health

The results of previous medical tests


You have bladder cancer when the cells in the bladder become abnormal and out of control. Over time, a tumor forms. It can spread to nearby lymph nodes and other organs. In severe cases, it can spread to distant parts of the body, including the bones, lungs, or liver. Your medical team will encourage you to sit down and take a walk shortly after the surgery. You have likely taken pain medication or antibiotics during your hospital stay and for some time after your arrival.

Follow your doctor’s recommendations and keep follow-up appointments. See a doctor if you:
Pain or swelling in the legs
sudden chest pain
shortness of breath
Swelling and increasing redness at the incision site
Nausea or vomiting
dark or foul smelling urine, or decreased urine output
Hoses or drains can hang outside your body for several weeks while it heals. Your doctor will remove them in due course.


One study found that the average cost of bladder cancer among patients surveyed was $ 65,158. On average, the study found that 60% of the cost ($ 39,393) was related to the monitoring and treatment of relapses. 30% of the cost ($ 19,811) was related to complications from bladder cancer, according to the study.


The risk of bladder cancer increases with age. Although it can appear at any age, most people diagnosed with bladder cancer are over 55 years old. Be a man. Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women. The risk of bladder cancer increases with age. Although it can appear at any age, most people diagnosed with bladder cancer are over 55 years old. Be a man. Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women.


High grade bladder cancer is likely to grow and spread quickly and become life threatening. High-grade cancers often need to be treated with chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Low-grade cancers appear non-aggressive and have a low chance of becoming high grade. They are rarely life threatening.