Bladder cancer is a common form of cancer that typically begins in the cells lining the interior of the bladder called urothelial cells. These urothelial cells can also be found in the ureters and the kidneys. While cancer in these cells can also affect the kidneys, bladder cancer is much more common.
Treatment for bladder cancer is generally highly effective. That is due in large part to the fact that most bladder cancers are detected in the superficial stage meaning it is confined to the lining of the bladder. Bladder cancer is much more dangerous once it becomes invasive. Even with superficial cancers, there is a chance of recurrence of bladder cancer, with most patients requiring follow-up testing for the remainder of their lives.
Several bladder cancer signs overlap with other common urological health conditions. The most common symptoms are:
- Blood in the urine, leading to a pink, red, or cola-colored appearance
- Frequent urination
- Pain during urination
- Back pain
Doctors can use several methods to evaluate a patient for bladder cancer. A urine test can sometimes reveal the presence of cancer cells in the bladder. Imaging tests can reveal cancer as well. In most cases, doctors find bladder cancer when using a scope to examine the bladder in patients presenting with the above symptoms.
Most common urinary issues call for urine samples or imaging tests that help with the early detection of bladder cancer.