Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers in England. Around 11,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed each year, mostly in patients aged 60-80, but bladder cancer can occur at any age. If you have been told that you have bladder cancer, you may be feeling shocked, confused and worried. We will be with you every step of the way so you can understand the condition and the aspects that will influence decisions about which treatment is right for each individual case.
The most common risk factor for bladder cancer is a history of smoking, which increases the risk of this cancer by four times. Patients normally notice blood when they pass urine (haematuria). Presence of visible blood in the urine therefore requires urgent investigation. Repeated urine infections or need to pass urine frequently and urgently are other possible symptoms. The most common tumour is transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). These tumours can affect the inner lining of the kidney and ureter (pipe from kidney to bladder).
Patients are initially investigated in the one-stop clinic where they have an ultrasound or CT examination of their urinary tract and a flexible cystoscopy (inspection of the bladder using a fibre-optic telescope).
The type of cancer you have will determine the treatment you need. Most bladder cancers can be managed by removing the bladder tumour from the lining of the bladder using instruments passed along the urethra or water pipe under anaesthetic. More advanced bladder cancer may require surgery to remove the bladder or radiotherapy.