Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a tumor that starts in the bladder, which holds and releases urine. These tumors are classified based on the way they grow:

  • Papillary tumors have a wart-like appearance and are attached to a stalk.
  • Nonpapillary tumors are flat. They are much less common, but more invasive and have worse outcomes.

Symptoms of bladder cancer can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Bone pain or tenderness if the cancer spreads to the bone
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Urinary urgency
  • Urine leakage (incontinence)
  • Weight loss & fatigue


If you are suspected of having bladder cancer, you will undergo a physical examination including a rectal and pelvic exam. Other tests that may be performed can include:

  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Bladder biopsy (usually performed during cystoscopy)
  • Cystoscopy (examining the inside of the bladder with a camera)
  • Intravenous pyelogram – IVP
  • Abdominal MRI scan
  • Pelvic CT scan
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine cytology


  • Treatments will depend on the stage and the severity of the cancer and your overall health.
  • Surgery to remove the tumor
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Surgery to remove only part of the bladder, followed by radiation and chemotherapy
  • Surgery to remove the entire bladder (radical cystectomy) and nearby lymph nodes
  • A combination of chemotherapy and radiation

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