21 Interesting Facts About Bladder Cancer + Statistics & Symptoms

Here Are the Top 21 Interesting Facts About Bladder Cancer (BC):

#1 In cancer of the bladder, harmful cells invade the bladder and destroy healthy cells.

#2 The bladder is a hollow organ that gathers urine from the kidneys through the ureters for storage and removal from the human body through the urethra.


#3 Males are 2 times more likely than females to be diagnosed with BC. An estimated 90 percent of people with this type of cancer are over the age of 55. It is the ninth most common cancer among females and the fourth most common cancer among males.

#4 In the US, about 82,000 adults (18,900 women and 62,800 men) are diagnosed with BC. Currently, there are over 720,000 people living with BC in the United States. It is the sixth most common cancer in the United States.

#5 It is the tenth most common cancer in the United Kingdom, accounting for approximately 3 percent of all new cancer cases. Every year, around 5,500 people die from BC in the UK, accounting for more deaths than cervical cancer and testicular cancer combined.

#6 BC is the 9th most common cancer worldwide, with over 166,000 deaths and 430,000 cases every year.

#7 Caucasians have a 100 percent increased risk of developing BC compared to people of African descent.


#8 Transitional cell carcinoma – most BCs are transitional cell carcinoma. This form usually starts in the urothelial cells, that line the inside of the bladder.

#9 Squamous cell carcinoma – it begins when thin squamous cells form in the bladder after a long-term irritation or infection in the bladder.

#10 Adenocarcinoma – this type of BC forms from cells that make up glands – specialized structures that produce and release fluids like mucus.


#11 Common symptoms include:

  • pain in the lower back;
  • blood in the urine – it occurs in 85 percent of patients who have BC;
  • pain in the abdominal area;
  • urinary incontinence;
  • changes in bladder habits;
  • urgent urination;
  • frequent urination;
  • painful urination.

Note – in the early stages of BC, you may not notice any symptoms of the disease.


#12 Common complications include:

  • radical cystectomy causes complete erectile dysfunction;
  • urinary tract infections;
  • complications of surgery include infection of the wound, pyelonephritis (inflammation of the kidney), obstruction of the ureter, and bowel obstruction;
  • increased risk of urethral transitional cell carcinoma (a form of cancer that usually occurs in the urinary system);
  • hydronephrosis (the swelling of a kidney);
  • urinary retention.


#13 It develops when cells in the bladder begin to grow abnormally. Most BCs start in transitional epithelial cells, which make up the inner lining of the bladder.

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Risk Factors

#14 Risk factors include:

  • smoking is the most important risk factor for BC. According to research, smokers are around 3 times more likely to develop BC than non-smokers. This is because tobacco contains cancer-causing chemicals;
  • chronic urinary tract infections – they may also cause kidney disease, kidney infections, and permanent kidney damage;
  • being a man;
  • having a kidney transplant;
  • having a family history of BC;
  • prolonged use of certain Chinese herbs or certain medications (like – phenacetin);
  • drinking well water contaminated with arsenic;
  • certain chemotherapy drugs, like – cyclophosphamide (a medication used to suppress the immune system and as chemotherapy);
  • being exposed to too much of certain workplace chemicals, like – corrosives, gases,  flammable liquids, asbestos, welding fumes, liquefied petroleum gas, petrol, diesel fuel, herbicides, pesticides, refrigerant gases, gas cylinders, detergents, degreasers, cleaning chemicals, cosmetics, drugs, or paints;
  • having certain gene mutations.

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#15 If BC is suspected, tests will be required to confirm the diagnosis. Tests used to diagnose BC may include:

  • imaging tests;
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP);
  • urine cytology;
  • PET (positron emission tomography) scans;
  • biopsy;
  • cystoscopy.

#16 There are new tests that look for substances (like telomerase – a ribonucleoprotein) in the urine, which might help show if a person has BC.

Note – the majority of BC is detected at the early stages when the tumor has not spread outside the bladder.


#17 The initial treatment for BC is transurethral resection, which removes the tumor from the bladder through the urethra.

#18 Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or to shrink tumors. Palliative radiotherapy uses high-energy X-rays and is recommended for individuals with ongoing bleeding. There are some studies regarding the potential of vitamin D in cancer treatment and prevention.

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#19 The best prevention method is to stop smoking tobacco and avoid second-hand smoking. There is also some evidence that drinking a lot of water might lower your risk of BC.

#20 Eating cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Bok choy, or collard greens) helps in preventing BC since cruciferous vegetables have high levels of glucosinolates, that break down as isothiocyanates.


#21 The recurrence rate for superficial transitional cell cancer is about 70 percent within 5 years. According to statistics, the 5-year survival rate of patients with BC is around 78 percent. The 10-year relative survival rate is approximately 70 percent.

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