The majority of bladder cancer cases develop in individuals over the age of 55 years. When bladder cancer is diagnosed and treated early, it is can often be treated successfully.
The bladder is a balloon shaped organ that collects urine from the kidneys and stores it until it is eliminated through a tube called the urethra. The most common type of bladder cancer, transitional or urothelial cell starts in the lining of the bladder.
Early stages of bladder cancer often produce no symptoms. Your first warning sign may be hematuria (blood in your urine that may be visible or only be visible under a microscope).
Other less common symptoms include:
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination or feeling an urge to urinate without results
- Slow or intermittent urine stream
- Pelvic pain
These symptoms may indicate other medical problems, such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones or prostate disorders; you will need a thorough evaluation to determine the cause.
The following factors increase your risk of bladder cancer:
- Cigarette smoking – the single greatest risk factor for bladder cancer
- Exposure to industrial chemicals
- Chronic bladder inflammation or foley catheter use
- Chemotherapy or radiation therapy for other cancers
Less common risk factors may include:
- Age – the average age is 67
- Sex – men are at much higher risk
- Race – Caucasians are at higher risk
- Family or personal history of bladder cancer