Bladder Cancer- Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells present in the bladder. It most frequently occurs in the urothelial cells that form the inside lining of the bladder. Urothelial cells are also found in the tubes and kidney that connect to the bladder and cancer can happen there too. However, bladder cancer is more common. Bladder Cancer- Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Causes of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer originates when the bladder cells mutates or changes their DNA structure. The cell’s DNA usually instructs the cells to perform its functions. The changes that occur in the cell directs the cells to rapidly multiply and to prolong living while healthy cells die. These abnormal cells form a tumour and destroys other normal body tissues.Causes of Bladder Cancer

Risk Factors of Bladder Cancer

While the causes of bladder cancer are known, there are several risk factors that increases the chances of getting it. They are:

  • Age: As you age, the risk of developing bladder cancer also increases. Most people diagnosed with bladder cancer are above the age of 55.
  • Gender: Surprisingly, men are more prone to bladder cancer than women.
  • Smoking: Smoking not only affects the lungs but also cause the accumulation of harmful chemicals in the urine which is later excreted. These harmful chemicals can damage the urothelial lining of your bladder and cause cancer.
  • Previous cancer treatment: Treatment for previous cancer using drugs like cyclophosphamide also increases the risk of developing bladder cancer. Radiation treatment to previous cancer can also lead to bladder cancer.
  • Exposure to certain chemicals: Kidneys function to filter the harmful chemicals from the blood stream and moves into the urinary bladder for excretion. In this process, the urothelial cells in the bladder can get damaged and cause cancer.
  • Bladder inflammation: Repeated inflammation or urinary infections, or use of urinary catheter for long duration can increase the risk of bladder cancer.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer symptoms are common and can be easily confused with other urinary infections. Hence if the following symptoms persist for long time, contact your doctor immediately. Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

  • Back pain
  • Pain while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in urine

Treatment for Bladder Cancer

Treatment of bladder cancer mainly depends on the type and stage of cancer involved. Your doctor will also treat you based on your symptoms and overall health.

Stage 0 and Stage 1 Treatment

Stage 0 and Stage 1 cancer is usually treated by performing surgery to remove the tumour present in the bladder. Sometimes immunotherapy and chemotherapy is also performed to destroy the cancer cells.

Stage 2 and Stage 3 Treatment

Treatment of bladder cancer at stage 2 and 3 involve

  • Removal of part bladder followed by chemotherapy
  • Removal of whole bladder, also called as radical cystectomy. This is followed by a surgical procedure to create a new path for urine exit from the body.
  • Immunotherapy, radiotherapy or chemotherapy to shrink the tumour which is followed by surgery.

Stage 4 Treatment

Treatment for stage 4 bladder cancer follows a different approach which includes

  • Clinical trial drugs
  • Chemotherapy without surgery to extend life and relieve symptoms
  • Radical cystectomy and removal of surrounding affected lymph nodes
  • Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or immunotherapy to kill remaining cancer cells and extend life.


While bladder cancer cannot be completely prevented, some measures can be taken to reduce the risk factors involved in causing bladder cancer. Living a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet without food adulteration can go a long way in prolonging life without developing cancer.



Yaamini Radhakrishnan
Yaamini Radhakrishnan:I am a clinic research professional, graduate in biotechnology and post graduate in biochemistry. Have also pursued freelance writing since the past 5 years I am married and have a daughter. I am a native and reside at Bangalore.