Bladder Cancer - Risk Factors and Warning Signs of Bladder Cancer
Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer
Although the cause of bladder cancer is unknown, it is linked to tobacco use and exposure to certain chemicals.
Smoking and Bladder Cancer:
Smoking is responsible for approximately 47 percent of bladder cancer deaths among men and 37 percent among women, according to the American Cancer Society.
Workplace Exposure and Bladder Cancer:
Workers in the rubber, chemical, leather, textile, metal, and printing industries exposed to substances such as aniline dye and aromatic amines may have increased risk for bladder cancer. Other at-risk occupations include hairdressers, machinists, painters, and truck drivers.
Warning Signs of Bladder Cancer
The most common warning sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (hematuria), which may or may not be visible. (Visible urine is called gross hematuria; invisible is called microscopic hematuria.) Other symptoms may include: change in bladder habits, including having to urinate more often, an urgent need to urinate, or burning when you urinate; needing to urinate but not being able to; difficulty initiating or stopping urine flow; weak, interrupted, or painful urine flow; abdominal pain; loss of weight or appetite; persistent lower back, upper thigh, or pelvic pain.
Screening for Bladder Cancer
Early-stage bladder cancer often shows no symptoms, or symptoms that are similar to those of benign conditions such as bladder stones, an enlarged prostate, or urinary tract infection. For this reason it is important to be examined regularly by a physician. If symptoms do appear they should be evaluated promptly so that bladder cancer can be detected in its earliest, most treatable stages.
Doctors may conduct some screening tests during an examination. During a urine cytology the doctor examines urine under a microscope to look for any cancerous or precancerous cells. During another test called a cystoscopy urologists place a cystocope, a flexible instrument consisting of a steerable slender tube with a camera or lens and a light, into the bladder through the urethra. They check the bladder and urethra for signs of cancer, remove any suspicious tissue, and check it under a microscope.
Herbert Irving Pavilion & ColumbiaDoctors Midtown
Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian