Bladder Cancer

Definition

Cancer that forms in tissues of the bladder (the organ that stores urine). Most bladder cancers are transitional cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in cells that normally make up the inner lining of the bladder). Other types include squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells) and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). The cells that form squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma develop in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation.

  • Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) arises from the cells that line the bladder and is the most common form
  • Squamous cell carcinoma also comes from the lining cells, but grow differently than TCC
  • Adenocarcinoma, the rarest form, comes from glandular cells in the bladder wall

Symptoms

In most cases, bladder cancer has no symptoms in its earliest stages. The following bodily changes may be warning signs:

  • Blood in urine (hematuria) — blood may appear cola colored or bright red in your urine, or may appear in a microscopic examination of your urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain

These symptoms can also result from other conditions such as a bladder infection, a benign (non-cancerous) tumor, kidney disease, bladder stones, or, in men, an enlarged prostate gland.