Bladder cancer affects many people worldwide but is not one of the best-known cancers, and lots of people don't know much about it. This brief guide aims to explain cancer of the bladder from the symptoms to the available treatments.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

The most common symptom of bladder cancer, in both men and women, is blood in the urine. This may be frequent and change the colour of your urine, or it may only happen sometimes. In either case, it should be taken seriously. As Cancer Research UK points out, there are also other, less important symptoms, such as frequent or urgent passing of urine, and lower back and abdominal pain. However, these symptoms are more often the symptoms of other illnesses, such as urinary tract infections. If you have any worries about your bladder or see blood in your urine, you should make an appointment with your GP, who may choose to refer you to a specialist. 

Diagnosing Bladder Cancer

When you see your GP, they will ask you about your symptoms, and will probably take a sample of your urine. They can use this to rule out infections, which are a common cause of most of bladder cancer's symptoms, and in some cases, they can detect the presence of cancer cells. If they suspect cancer, they will refer you to a specialist, who can do more specialised tests and scans. If cancer is diagnosed, they will give it a stage that denotes your cancer's spread and severity, as explained by The specialist will then explain the range of treatments available to you.

Treatment for Bladder Cancer

The range of treatments available for bladder cancer depends on the spread and severity of cancer. In some cases, minimally-invasive surgery will be able to remove your cancer, but in some cases, you may need surgery to have the bladder removed. This is called a cystectomy and is explained in more detail by the Mayo Clinic. If you have a full cystectomy, your specialist will be able to give you more information about recovery and what kind of urinary diversion you will have. In some cases, surgery is not possible, and therefore chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or a combination of both, will be necessary. Sometimes chemotherapy is combined with surgery, especially if the entire bladder is not removed. Your specialist will be able to discuss the full range of treatments with you and help you to decide which is appropriate for you.

Bladder cancer can be uncomfortable, and in sometimes dangerous, but a quick diagnosis and effective bladder cancer treatment can go a long way towards recovery. If you are at all worried about your bladder, see your GP and find out about your options.