The bladder is an organ in the pelvis that stores urine before it leaves the body. Bladder cancer occurs when cells in the bladder grow uncontrollably and eventually form a tumor. Usually, bladder cancer will start in the innermost lining of the bladder, called the urothelium or transitional epithelium. If the bladder cancer grows into the other layers in the bladder wall, it becomes more advanced and may be more difficult to treat.

Overview and Symptoms
Bladder cancer symptoms may include:
  • Orange or pink urine, caused by blood in the urine
  • Increased urination
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Having trouble urinating or having a weak urine stream
  • Fatigue and weakness
Bladder cancer diagnostic tests may include:
  • Urine tests: Using a urine sample from normal urination, clinicians will determine if the urine contains tumor cells.
  • Cystoscopy: allows the doctor to see inside the body with a thin, lighted, flexible tube called a cystoscope
  • Biopsy: the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope
  • Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan: creates a 3-dimensional picture of the inside of the body using x-rays taken from different angles
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): uses magnetic fields, not x-rays, to produce detailed images of the body
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: creates pictures of organs and tissues inside the body
  • Ultrasound: uses sound waves to create a picture of the internal organs

Treatment

Bladder cancer treatment will vary depending on your particular sub-type of cancer and how far the bladder cancer has spread. However, it often will include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Learn More

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Genitourinary Cancer Program