*Please note that these are general answers applying to Basingstoke practice. If you have questions or concerns about your specific diagnosis and treatment, you should talk to your specialist nurse.
What are the risk factors for bladder cancer?
- Risk factors for bladder cancer include smoking (causes one-third of bladder cancers), occupational exposure to carcinogens, age, race (Caucasians are at highest risk), chronic bladder problems and a family history of bladder cancer.
What are the symptoms I should look out for?
- Symptoms such as blood in the urine (haematuria), lower abdominal pain, urinary frequency, bladder irritation, fever and weight loss – can mimic those of common, benign conditions, but haematuria should always raise suspicions until a diagnosis is confirmed.
What investigations might I need?
- A telescopic inspection of the bladder (cystoscopy) is a simple and fast way to inspect the bladder. It is usually carried out as an outpatient procedure and does not require a general anaesthetic.
What is the treatment and prognosis for my bladder cancer?
- Bladder cancer’s staging, treatment and prognosis depends on how deeply it has invaded the muscular wall of the bladder.
- At diagnosis, 75% of bladder cancers are ‘superficial’ and do not invade the bladder’s muscular wall. They can be managed using a telescope (Cystoscopy). 25% invade the bladder’s muscular wall. Such invasive bladder cancers may spread outside the bladder and affect other organs. These tumours have to be managed either by surgical removal of the bladder or radiotherapy. Some patients may also require chemotherapy. Because of the wide difference in the treatment and outcome of superficial and invasive bladder cancer early diagnosis is extremely important.
Who will perform my bladder surgery?
- Recent government guidelines have suggested that only surgeons with special training, working in teams, should perform major bladder surgery. The Pelican bladder cancer surgeons have all received specialist training in major bladder cancer surgery and work as a team on all cases.