Bladder Cancer: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Bladder cancer is where a development of abnormal tissue, known as a tumour, develops in the bladder lining. In some cases, the tumour spreads into the adjoining muscles.

The most familiar symptom of bladder cancer is blood in your urine, which is generally painless.


The cause of bladder cancer is not recognized. Changes in the genetic material (DNA) of bladder cells may play a role.

Most cases of bladder cancer appear to be caused by exposure to dangerous substances, which lead to abnormal changes in the bladder’s cells over many years. Exposure to chemicals and other substances at work-including dyes, paints, leather dust, and others-may also cause bladder cancer.

Tobacco smoke is a general cause and it’s estimated that half of all cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking.

Contact with certain chemicals previously used in manufacturing is also known to cause bladder cancer. However, these substances have since been banned.

Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

The most common symptoms of bladder cancer include the following:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Pain or burning during urination without evidence of urinary tract infection
  • Change in bladder habits, such as having to urinate more often or feeling the strong urge to urinate without producing much urine, having troubles urinating, or having a weak urine stream
  • Pain during urination (dysuria).
  • Urinating small amounts frequently.

These symptoms are nonspecific. This means that these symptoms are also linked with many other conditions that have nothing to do with cancer. Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have bladder cancer.



Medicines may be used to control the growth of bladder cancer cells and to relieve symptoms. These medicines may be taken by mouth, injected into a vein (intravenous, or IV), or delivered directly into the bladder using a catheter.

  • Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy, also called biological therapy, uses medicines that cause your body’s immune system to attack cancer cells in your bladder. It is most often used for early-stage bladder cancer. It may also be used after a transurethral resection (TUR) to help keep cancer from coming back.



Bladder cancer cannot be prevented, but you may be able to reduce some of your risk for getting it.

  • Stop smoking. Cigarette smokers are much more likely to get bladder cancer than nonsmokers.
  • Avoid exposure to industrial chemicals, such as benzene substances and arylamines.
  • Avoid exposure to arsenic.
  • Eat healthy foods. Experts believe that what you eat and drink may help prevent bladder cancer.



About 100,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year and it’s the seventh most common cancer in the World.

The situation is more general in older adults, with more than half of all new cases diagnosed in people aged 75 and above.

Bladder cancer is also more general in men than in women, possibly because in the past, men were more likely to smoke and work in the manufacturing industry.