Bladder Cancer – Symptoms, Causes and Surgery

The bladder refers to a flexible, hollow pouch in your pelvic, whose main job is to store urine before it is passed out from the body. When the cells inside the bladder grow and multiply out of control, which in time form a tumour, an individual is usually affected by bladder cancer. Cancer can spread to the different parts of your body over time, if the growth is not arrested in time. Bladder cancer affects nearly 330000 people across the world every year. In India, according to the recent reports of the National Cancer Registry Programme, the overall incidence rate of the urinary bladder cancer is 2.25%. The state of Uttar Pradesh in India has been reported as having the most recorded cases of bladder cancer.

Causes of Bladder Cancer

The causes of bladder cancer are not evident and this is an area that is still ripe for research.

Risk factors

Risk factors that may increase your chances of developing bladder cancer include the following:

• Race: White men over 40 are at an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
• Gender: Bladder cancer is more common in men than it is in women.
• Family history: A family history of bladder cancer also puts you in the high-risk category.
• Smoking: Inhalation of tobacco fumes, building up over time in your bladder may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer.
• Certain diabetic medications: Certain diabetic medications pioglitazone (Actos) have been proven to increase your risk of developing bladder cancer.
• Continued exposure to harmful chemicals: People working in certain industries around chemicals that are potential causes of cancer are in a high-risk category.
• Chronic bladder inflammation: Recurring bladder infections that cause your bladder prolonged irritation may also increase your chances of developing bladder cancer.


The primary and most common symptom of bladder cancer is the presence of blood in your urine. The quantity of blood in the urine does not matter- it may be just a tiny speck or ample enough to change the colour of your urine to orange, pink or even dark red. It is also possible that you see blood one day but it is absent next few days. In some cases, the presence of blood in the urine is not visible to the naked eye, but is visible to a doctor or lab technician under microscope. Other symptoms of bladder cancer include the following:

• Frequent urination
• You are unable to urinate or can urinate very little
• A burning sensation when you urinate
• Significant changes in the colour of your urine
• Urges to urinate even if the bladder is not full

The presence of the above symptoms, however, do not necessarily indicate the occurrence of bladder cancer. It might even be a bladder infection, a urinary tract infection or other less significant infections. Do not panic and contact your doctor immediately. Symptoms of advanced bladder cancer:

• Loss of weight without trying
• Excessive fatigue
• Pain in the bones
• Loss of appetite
• Pain in the lower back
• Swollen feet

Treatment Options

Apollo Clinic Spectra offers you the best services and treatments for all your urological conditions. It is advisable to consult a doctor to decide on the best course of treatment depending upon your condition, the extent of the presence of cancer in your body as well as your medical history.

Surgery: Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT) is the most common surgical procedure followed for the treatment of bladder cancer in the early stages. It is a very short procedure done in the hospital which allows you to go home in a day or two. A rectoscope is inserted into the bladder through the urethra in order to remove abnormal tissues from the bladder.

Laser removal of the tumour may also be performed.

Immunotherapy: Administration of immunotherapy may also be performed for the treatment of bladder cancer. Atezolizumab (Tecentriq) is the most common medicine used for the treatment of bladder cancer, which works by strengthening the body’s immune system response, thus eliminating cancer.

Cystectomy: During the procedure known as cystectomy, your healthcare professional removes the part of the bladder that is affected by cancer. In case, cancer has not yet spread to the entire bladder, a partial cystectomy maybe be performed. However, if cancer tumour is large enough and has spread to more parts of the bladder, it calls for the removal of the entire organ, through a procedure known as radical cystectomy. An anaesthetic is administered during both these procedures so that the patient is in a deep sleep during the surgery. A recovery period of 2 to 3 weeks is recommended post the surgery.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy involves the use of high energy radiation in order to kill the cancerous cells. The procedure does not cause any pain and may be recommended by your healthcare professional as a follow-up form of treatment post surgery or in the early stages of bladder cancer.

Medical management

Depending on the extent of the surgery performed or the treatment received, the recovery time for bladder cancer can be anything from 2 days to a few months. The side effects of the TransUrethral Resection of Bladder (TURBT) surgery are mild and do not last long. You are usually sent home in a day or two and can return to your normal routine in about a week post surgery.

Doctors at Apollo Spectra are always conducting research studies for ways to improve the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. Cases of patients who have undergone any of the above treatments are studied to identify any patterns or connections. You will have access to qualified surgeons at Apollo Spectra, who have been specially trained to treat bladder cancers. Their specialized knowledge would mean that you have an assurance that you shall receive the best treatment, that would meet your needs and strive to achieve the best results. A group of doctors would work as a team and come up with a solution and treatment plan that is best suited to you. We also use the latest technology and equipment to improve the chances of successful outcomes.


What is the average age for bladder cancer?

About 9 out of 10 people suffering from bladder cancer are over the age of 55 years.

Is bladder cancer fatal?

The prognosis for patients with stage 0a (non-invasive papillary bladder cancer) is excellent with most cases and usually cured with treatment.

How do you urinate after bladder removal?

In case a part or all of your urethra is removed during transurethral resection of bladder (TURBT) surgery, a continent Reservoir is connected to your uterus in order to make an opening in your belly to pass the urine.