Urology Health - Bladder Cancer Basics


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Posted on: 05 Aug 2022

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The bladder is found in the pelvis and plays a large role in a person’s body by storing urine (liquid waste made by the kidneys) before it leaves the body. Each layer of the bladder is made up of many types of cells. Most bladder cancers start within the inside lining of the bladder. Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) is cancer found in the tissue that lines the inner surface of the bladder. The bladder muscle is not involved.

If cancer cells start to grow into or through the other layers of the bladder wall, the cancer may become more severe. Muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) is a cancer that spreads into the detrusor muscle of the bladder. The detrusor muscle is the thick muscle deep in the bladder wall. This cancer is more likely to spread to other parts of the body. Although most common in men, bladder cancer can affect both men and women, especially with age.

Some people may not have any symptoms but, if symptoms are present, they should not be ignored. Talk with your doctor if you have blood in the urine, frequent and urgent need to pass urine, pain when passing urine and/or pain in your lower abdomen or back. These symptoms do not always mean a person has bladder cancer, so it is good to talk with your doctor to discuss next steps.

The below resources can be used to help you learn more about bladder cancer.

Bladder Cancer Patient Guide

Guía para pacientes con cáncer de vejiga (Bladder Cancer Patient Guide)

Bladder Cancer: What You Should Know Fact Sheet

Bladder Cancer Podcast

Supported by an independent educational grant from Merck. 

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