Bladder cancer starts in the bladder which is an organ located in the lower stomach area that stores and releases urine. Bladder cancer usually starts from transitional cells that line the bladder. These tumors are classified based upon the way they grow:
- Papillary tumors - wart-like appearance and attached to a stalk.
- Nonpapillary tumors - flat; these are much less common than papillary tumors but are more invasive and lead to a worse outcome.
Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer:
While the exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown, there are risk factors that may make you more likely to develop it:
- Cigarette smoking - smoking greatly increases your risk of developing bladder cancer. About half of all bladder cancers in men and some in women are caused by cigarette smoke.
- Exposure to chemicals in the workplace - around one-quarter of bladder cancer is caused by these cancer-causing chemicals called carcinogens. The trades highest at risk include workers with rubber, dye, aluminum, and leather, as well as truck drivers and workers applying pesticides.
- Chemotherapy - the chemotherapy drug, cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) can increase your risk. There are medications your physician can prescribe to reduce your risk.
- Bladder infections - chronic or long-term bladder infections may lead to some types of bladder cancer.
- Radiation therapy - women who have undergone radiation therapy for the treatment of cervical cancer are at an increased risk of bladder cancer.
- Presence of blood in the urine
- Painful or frequent urination
- Urinary urgency or leakage (incontinence)
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
If you have any of these persistent symptoms or signs that are of particular concern, please consult your physician.
For more information on bladder cancer go to:
National Cancer Institute
U.S. National Library of Medicine