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Bladder Cancer

Non-invasive bladder cancer is a cancer that is only in the inner lining of the bladder. Invasive bladder cancer is cancer that has spread into the deeper walls of the bladder. When the cancer has spread outside the bladder to other parts of the body, this is known as advanced bladder cancer.

Cause & Risk

Smoking is the biggest risk factor for bladder cancer. About 1 in 3 cases of bladder cancer may be caused by it. The longer a person smokes and the more cigarettes they smoke, the greater the risk. Bladder cancer is more common in older people. It’s rare for anyone under 40 to develop it. Bladder cancer is more common in men than in women.


Small lumps around the anus which may be confused with piles (haemorrhoids).

Diagnosis and Treatment

A Cystoscopy is the main test used to diagnose bladder cancer. A doctor or specialist nurse uses a cystoscope (a thin tube with a camera and light on the end) to examine the inside of your bladder. A cystoscopy to check for bladder abnormalities is usually done under local anaesthetic using a flexible cystoscope. You may be asked to drink lots of fluids before the cystoscopy and to provide a sample of urine, which will be checked for infection.

Your specialist can suggest the treatment that’s most suitable for you. For example, if your general health is good, the tumour appears confined around the bladder and there aren’t any signs of spread elsewhere (metastases), surgery may be advised. If you have a medical condition that makes surgery more risky, radiotherapy may be recommended. If you have a larger tumour, then surgery may sometimes be recommended. Your doctors will talk to you about the best treatment for your particular situation. If you have any questions about your treatment, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or the nurse looking after you. It often helps to make a list of the questions you want to ask and to take a close friend or relative with you to help you remember what is discussed.

Further Information

Bladder cancer and its treatment may cause physical changes in your body. These changes can be very difficult to cope with and may affect the way you feel about yourself. If you have early bladder cancer and need regular cystoscopies, you may have cystitis symptoms, urine infection or blood in the urine (haematuria) afterwards. Your doctor or specialist nurse will advise you how to cope with this and can prescribe medicines to help.

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of bladder cancer brings, you may also have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. You may need information about financial support, such as benefits, sick pay and grants. Just try to remember that you don't have to sort everything out at once. It may take some time to deal with each issue. Do ask for help if you need it though. It is likely that your doctor or specialist nurse will know who you can contact to get some help. They can put you in touch with professionals who are specially trained in supporting people with cancer. These people are there to help and want you to feel that you have support. So use them if you feel you need to.

Recommended Links

 The BUPA website on Bladder Cancer, click here:

Patient website for Bladder Cancer:

Bladder Cancer

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