Understanding bladder cancer – symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention
What is bladder cancer?
The bladder is a pouch in your urinary tract that stores urine after it is produced by the kidneys. The bladder is lined with specialised cells called transitional cells.
Bladder cancer can arise from these transitional cells. The cancer spreads by penetrating bladder muscle, infiltrating surrounding fat and tissue, and - if untreated - eventually spreading to other organs and tissues in the body, such as the lungs, liver or bones.
The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the more limited it will likely be and the more effective the treatment. Thanks to improved procedures for early detection and treatment, five-year survival rates for bladder cancer improved from 50 per cent in the 1960s to over 70 per cent in the 1990s. Although bladder cancers often recur, prompt diagnosis means they can be treated while they are still superficial.
According to Cancer Research UK, there were around 10,540 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed in the UK in 2009. The most common site of tumours in the urinary system is the bladder, and bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK.
It also is the fourth most common cancer in UK males, with over 7,400 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK, Cancer Research UK says. This compares with almost 3,000 new cases in women each year in the UK, making it more than twice as common in men than in women.According to Cancer Research UK, there were around 10,090 new cases of bladder cancer in the UK in 2007. The most common site of tumours in the urinary system is the bladder, and bladder cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the UK.
Few cases of bladder cancer are reported under the age of 50, but then the rates rise steeply to peak in UK males at 75 to 79 years (age at diagnosis), when the incidence is around three times that in women of the same age.
Many bladder tumours are not cancerous. Make sure you talk to your doctor to understand what type of bladder tumour you may have.