Bladder cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in the U.S. It is the fourth most common cancer among men and the eighth most common cancer among women. In 2018 approximately 79,000 new cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. Bladder cancer strikes most often among individuals between the ages of 50 and 70. Men are three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than women, and smokers are twice as likely to get bladder cancer as nonsmokers. People living in urban areas and workers exposed to chemicals in the dye, rubber or leather tanning industries are also at higher risk.
One in five bladder cancer patients currently dies from the disease within five years of initial diagnosis. If detected early, however, bladder cancer can be highly curable. Patients who are diagnosed while in the early stages of the cancer have a five-year survival rate of 94%. Approximately 75% of superficial tumors, the most common form of bladder cancer, recur 6 to 12 after initial treatment, making lifelong monitoring of the disease essential. Gross hematuria is often the first visible sign of the cancer. Other symptoms include persistent bladder irritability, increased urinary frequency, pelvic and suprapubic pain, obstruction of the bladder neck or ureter(s) and microhematuria. Physicians evaluate a patient’s medical history and perform a complete medical exam when they test a patient for any type of cancer. A physician may be able to feel a very large tumor during a medical exam, but smaller tumors require medical testing to be found and treated.
Several testing types are common when evaluating a patient for the presence of bladder cancer. Intravenous pyelogram (IVP), cystoscopy, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, voided urine cytology and tumor markers are some of the tools available to the physician for the diagnosis of bladder cancer