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 and Delivery of High Quality Cancer Care in Essex"
NHS Essex Cancer Network

Bladder Cancer

About

Bladder cancer is where a growth of abnormal tissue, known as a tumour, develops in the bladder lining. In some cases, the tumour spreads into the surrounding muscles.

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in your urine, which is usually painless.

If you notice blood in your urine, even if it comes and goes, you should visit your GP, so the cause can be investigated.

Read about the symptoms of bladder cancer.

Types of bladder cancer

Once diagnosed, bladder cancer can be classified by how far it has spread. 

If the cancerous cells are contained inside the lining of the bladder, doctors describe it as non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This is the most common type of bladder cancer, accounting for 7 out of 10 cases. Most people don't die as a result of this type of bladder cancer.

When the cancerous cells spread beyond the lining, into the surrounding muscles of the bladder, it's referred to as muscle-invasive bladder cancer. This is less common, but has a higher chance of spreading to other parts of the body and can be fatal.

If bladder cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it's known as locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer.

Read more about diagnosing bladder cancer.

Why does bladder cancer happen?

Most cases of bladder cancer appear to be caused by exposure to harmful substances, which lead to abnormal changes in the bladder's cells over many years. 

Tobacco smoke is a common cause and it's estimated that half of all cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking.

Contact with certain chemicals previously used in manufacturing is also known to cause bladder cancer. However, these substances have since been banned.

Read more about the causes of bladder cancer and preventing bladder cancer.

Treating bladder cancer

In cases of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer, it's usually possible to remove the cancerous cells while leaving the rest of the bladder intact.

This is done using a surgical technique called transurethral resection of a bladder tumour (TURBT). This is followed by a dose of chemotherapy medication directly into the bladder, to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

In cases with a higher risk of recurrence, a medication known as Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) may be injected into the bladder to reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

Treatment for high-risk non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer, or muscle-invasive bladder cancer may involve surgically removing the bladder in an operation known as a cystectomy.

When the bladder is removed, you'll need another way of collecting your urine. Possible options include making an opening in the abdomen so urine can be passed into an external bag, or constructing a new bladder out of a section of bowel. This will be done at the same time as a cystectomy.

If it's possible to avoid removing the bladder, or if surgery is not suitable, a course of radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be recommended. Chemotherapy may sometimes be used on its own before surgery or before being combined with radiotherapy.

After treatment for all types of bladder cancer, you'll have regular follow-up tests to check for signs of recurrence.

Read more about treating bladder cancer.

Who is affected?

About 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year and it's the seventh most common cancer in the UK.

The condition is more common in older adults, with more than half of all new cases diagnosed in people aged 75 and above.

Bladder cancer is also more common in men than in women, possibly because in the past, men were more likely to smoke and work in the manufacturing industry.

Further Information on bladder cancer

Information Prescription Service

To access the Information Prescription Service and the national cancer information pathway for bladder cancer please click on the link below. Then click on 'Specialist information from our charity partners'

www.nhs.uk

Macmillan Website

www.macmillan.org.uk

Cancer research UK Website

www.cancerresearchuk.org

Further Information

Visit or phone a local cancer information centre

There are several cancer information and support centres in Essex Cancer Network where anyone affected by cancer can be sure of a warm welcome and high quality, accurate, evidence-based information:

Basildon Hospital Macmillan Info and Support Centre, Outpatients Dept, Basildon Hospital, staffed Monday 2pm - Friday 12.30pm,tel: 0845 155 3111 extension 4908

Macmillan Info and Support Centre,Essex County Hospital, Outpatients Dept, Monday - Friday office hours, tel: 01206 747474

Information Resource Service, St Luke's House, Corringham,Thurrock, Monday to Friday office hours, tel: 01375 648170

Lantern Suite, Farleigh Hospice,Chelmsford, Monday to Friday office hours, tel: 01245 457418

Hospice Outreach Project Information Bus, Farleigh Hospice, covers the Chelmsford area. Contact Farleigh Hospice as above

For more information, please contact the service direct.

 

Visit your local library in Essex Cancer Network

Essex, Southend and Thurrock library services have worked in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support and the Essex Cancer Network to establish collections of quality assured information books and pamphlets about cancer. These can be accessed at any library: just ask. Additionally some staff at libraries have been trained to help patients use the Information Prescription Service.

Contact Macmillan Cancer Support Helplines

If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just someone to talk to, call free, Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm (interpretation service available) tel: 0808 808 0000

For financial queries tel: 0808 808 2232

 

Remember: Stay safe online when looking for support!

Internet chat rooms and message forums can be valuable sources of support and comfort, enabling you to meet others in the same position. However, there is potential for abuse - please read these guidelines before you set off to explore...

Click here to download the draft guidelines

 

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