Bladder cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and affects approximately 3 times more men than women. The incidence of bladder cancer also increases with age; people over the age of 70 develop the disease approximately 20 times more often than those between the ages of 30- 54.
The bladder is located in the pelvic cavity, and its function is to store and discharge urine. There are three main types of bladder cancer, but urothelial cell cancers are the most common, accounting for over 90% of all bladder cancers. These are tumors that only affect the inner lining of the bladder. Urothelial cell cancers can be low stage (superficial) or high stage (invasive). Low stage tumors only affect the lining of the bladder, whilst high stage tumors invade the muscle and cells surrounding the bladder.
The main symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (hematuria), which may be visible to the naked eye, or under a microscope, and is painless in most cases. Other symptoms include frequent or painful urination.
The type of treatment depends on the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer and the patientís age and overall health. Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.