Can You Feel a Tumor in Your Bladder?

Medically Reviewed on 6/21/2022
Can You Feel a Tumor in Your Bladder?
Bladder cancer is caused by uncontrolled aberrant development and the multiplication of cells in the urinary bladder.

The bladder is a hollow organ located in the lower part of the abdomen that serves as a urine reservoir until it is discharged out of the body through the urethra. The bladder connects the ureters to the urethra in both sexes.

It is hard to feel a bladder tumor in its early stages, but certain early warning signs can help diagnose it in its initial stages, including:

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Pain and burning sensation while urinating
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Pain near or around the lower abdomen
  • Swelling in the feet and ankles

What causes bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer is caused by uncontrolled aberrant development and multiplication of cells in the urinary bladder that have escaped the normal mechanisms that limit excessive cell proliferation.

  • It invariably begins in the bladder's innermost layer (mucosa) and can spread to deeper layers as it progresses. In some cases, it may remain restricted to the mucosa for an extended length.
  • It can spread or metastasize to other regions of the body, including the lungs, bones, and liver.
  • Although the most typical appearance is a shrub (papillary), it can take the form of a nodule (an irregular solid growth) or a flat, hardly detectable thickening of the inner bladder wall.

8 risk factors of bladder cancer

  1. Cigarette smoking
  2. Bladder cancer affects about 90 percent of individuals older than 55 years
  3. Males are more prone to getting bladder cancer than women
  4. A family history of bladder cancer may enhance one's chances of having the illness
  5. Exposure to harmful chemicals, such as arsenic, phenols, aniline dyes, and arylamines, has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer
  6. Bladder cancer is more common in those who work in the dyeing, rubber, aluminum, and leather sectors, as well as truck drivers and pesticide applicators
  7. A history of cancer treatments
  8. Long-term infections and bladder irritation caused by stones or foreign objects

5 types of bladder cancer

Depending on the cells that cancer originates in, bladder cancer is divided into:

  1. Urothelial carcinoma or transitional cell carcinoma
    • 90 percent of bladder cancer cases
    • Arises from urothelial cells of the urinary tract
  2. Squamous cell carcinoma
    • Arises from the bladder lining
  3. Adenocarcinoma
    • Accounts for approximately one percent of all bladder malignancies
    • Arises from the glandular cells
  4. Small-cell carcinoma
    • Rarest type
    • Account for less than one percent of all bladder cancers
    • A neuroendocrine epithelial tumor that is poorly differentiated
  5. Sarcoma
    • A rare type that arises from the bladder’s muscular cells


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How is bladder cancer diagnosed?

Bladder cancer can be diagnosed using the following:

  • Urinalysis: To determine if an infection could be a cause of symptoms. The presence of transitional cells in the urine sample could be suggestive of bladder cancer.
  • Urine cytology: A microscopic examination of the urine.
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvis: To rule out structural abnormalities in the bladder wall.
  • Computed tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging: To determine if there is any spread of the disease outside the bladder.
  • Cystoscopy: Under anesthesia, a cystoscope (lighted telescope) is inserted into the bladder from the urethra to view the inside of the bladder.
  • Biopsy: Tissue samples are taken, which are later examined under a microscope for signs of cancer.
  • Transurethral resection: A diagnostic and therapeutic procedure done under general or spinal anesthesia, wherein a telescope is inserted into the bladder, and the tumor is removed by scraping it from the bladder wall using a special cystoscope (called a resectoscope).

5 treatment options for bladder cancer

  1. Surgery:
    • The type of surgery depends on the stage of cancer:
      • Transurethral resection of the bladder
      • Partial cystectomy (removal of a section of the bladder)
      • Radical cystectomy (complete removal of the bladder)
  2. Chemotherapy:
    • To kill or slow the reproduction of rapidly multiplying cells
    • Some common chemotherapy drugs include:
  3. Intravesical chemotherapy:
    • Bladder cancer could be treated with intravesical (into the bladder through a tube inserted into the urethra) chemotherapy.
  4. Immunotherapy:
    • It refers to using the body's immune system to attack the cancer cells.
  5. Radiation therapy:
    • It helps damage the DNA of cancer cells by bombarding them with high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation.

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Medically Reviewed on 6/21/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Cleveland Clinic. Bladder Cancer.

American Cancer Society. Can Bladder Cancer Be Found Early?

WebMD. What Are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?