Each year in the United States, bladder cancer
is diagnosed in 38,000 men and 15,000 women. This is the fourth most
common type of cancer in men and the eighth most common in women.
The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower
abdomen. It stores urine that passes from each kidney into the bladder
The wall of the bladder is lined with cells
called transitional cells and squamous cells. More than 90 percent of
bladder cancers begin in the transitional cells. This type of bladder
cancer is called transitional cell carcinoma. About 8 percent of bladder
cancer patients have squamous cell carcinomas.
Cancer that is only in cells in the lining of
the bladder is called superficial bladder cancer. It is called carcinoma
in situ. Cancer that begins as a superficial tumor may grow through
the lining and into the muscular wall of the bladder. This is known as
invasive cancer. Invasive cancer may extend through the bladder wall.
It may grow into a nearby organ such as the uterus or vagina (in women) or
the prostate gland (in men). It also may invade the wall of the abdomen.
When bladder cancer spreads outside the
bladder, cancer cells are often found in nearby lymph nodes. If the cancer
has reached these nodes, cancer cells may have spread to other lymph nodes
or other organs, such as the lungs, liver, or bones. When cancer spreads
(metastasizes) from its original place to another part of the body, the
new tumor has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the
Risk factors for bladder cancer:
Age - More common in older people. People
under 40 rarely get this disease.
Tobacco- The use of tobacco is a major risk
factor. Cigarette smokers are two to three times more likely than
nonsmokers to get bladder cancer.
Occupation - Some workers have a higher risk
of getting bladder cancer because of carcinogens in the workplace. Workers
in the rubber, chemical, and leather industries are at risk. So are
hairdressers, machinists, metal workers, printers, painters, textile
workers, and truck drivers.
Infections- Infections with certain parasites
increases the risk of bladder cancer.
Treatment with cyclophosphamide or exposure to
arsenic - increase the risk of bladder cancer.
Race- Whites get bladder cancer twice as often
as African Americans and Hispanics. The lowest rates are among Asians.
Sex- Men are two to three times more likely
than women to get bladder cancer.
Family history- People with family members who
have bladder cancer are more likely to get the disease.
Previous history of bladder cancer- People who
have had bladder cancer have an increased chance of getting the disease
Saccharin- an artificial sweetener, causes
bladder cancer in animals. However, research does not show that saccharin
causes cancer in human beings.