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Southern California Urology Institute
Gary Bellman, M.D., F.R.C.S.
Board Certified Urologist
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Bladder Cancer- Aim For Early Detection

By: Dr. Gary Bellman on September 23, 2016, 8:06 pm

The most common type of bladder cancer is called transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).  This type is also called urothelial carcinoma.  It affects only the cells that line the inside of the bladder.  This type is found in 90% of people who have bladder cancer.  If this cancer stays in the bladder’s lining, it’s called superficial bladder cancer
 
You may also hear it called noninvasive bladder cancer.  
 
Cancer in the lining can spread to deeper tissues.  This type of cancer is called invasive bladder cancer.  The deeper the cancer has spread, the more serious it is.

There are other types of bladder cancer.  One type is called squamous cell carcinoma.  Another type is called adenocarcinoma.  Both of these types are in only 3%-4% of people who have bladder cancer. Treatment for these cancers is different from transitional cell cancers.

Early attention to symptoms is the best way to find and treat bladder cancer. The earlier bladder cancer is found, the easier it is to treat--and the better your chance of being cured.

Symptoms of bladder cancer can also be caused by other, less serious problems.  To find out the cause of these symptoms, your doctor will do a series of tests, ask about your exposure to risk factors, and do a complete medical history.

These are some of the main symptoms of bladder cancer:
  • Blood in the urine- Blood is often the first sign of bladder cancer.  The color of urine may be pink or deep red, depending on the amount of blood.  There may be so little blood in the urine that it can only be seen by looking at the urine under a microscope.  In this case, the problem is usually found during a routine checkup with your doctor. Blood in the urine does not always mean that bladder cancer is present.  Other conditions can also cause it, such as urinary tract infections, kidney disease, bladder or kidney stones, noncancerous tumors, or injuries to the abdomen.
     
  • Change in urinary habits- Urinating more frequently than usual or having discomfort when urinating can be symptoms of bladder cancer.  Again, these symptoms may be due to other medical problems.  In men, for example, these symptoms may be due to an enlarged prostate gland.
     
  • Pain or a burning sensation during urination-  Pain is rarely a symptom of bladder cancer in the early stages.  However, some people may experience discomfort when they urinate.  It’s often due to other medical problems.
 
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible.  Keep in mind that the earlier bladder cancer is found, the easier it is to treat.



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