Bladder cancer is cancer that develops in the cells in the lining or wall of the urinary bladder, the organ that stores urine. The cause of at least 50% of bladder cancers is cigarette smoking. Many of the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke are cancer-causing substances (carcinogens). These chemicals enter the bloodstream from the lungs and, the kidneys then filter them into the urine. These chemicals therefore come into prolonged contact with the bladder wall and cause changes that lead to cancer in the cells lining the bladder. Other risk factors for developing bladder cancer include older age, male gender, exposure to toxic chemicals, and radiation.
Bladder cancer may not initially cause signs or symptoms. When symptoms and signs do occur, blood in the urine (hematuria) is a frequent sign. The bleeding is typically not associated with painful urination. The blood in the urine may be bright red blood, or the urine may appear dark. Some types of bladder cancer may cause irritation of the bladder with little or no bleeding.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Main Article on Bladder Cancer Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Bladder Cancer Symptoms, Stages, Treatments
Bladder cancer occurs when cancerous cells, often from the lining of the bladder, begin to multiply. Find more information about...
Picture of Bladder
The urinary bladder is a muscular sac in the pelvis, just above and behind the pubic bone. See a picture of the Bladder and learn...
Why Do I Pee So Often? Incontinence & Overactive Bladder
You went to the bathroom to pee just a few minutes ago. Now you need to go again. What's going on? Here are some possible reasons....