Urine is formed by the kidney and stored in
the bladder. The bladder expands and contracts depending
on how much urine is stored inside. Cancer can develop in the bladder as it
does in other bodily organs. Most bladder cancer arises in the cells that
line the bladder. The February 16, 2005, issue of JAMA includes
an article about bladder cancer.
Blood in the urine
Smoking greatly increases the chance of having
bladder cancer. Smoking also increases the death rate from bladder cancer.
Older persons have a greater risk for bladder cancer
than younger individuals.
Men develop bladder cancer 4 times more often than
Diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer is usually done by a urologist (a doctor with specialized training in surgery
of the urinary tract). Urine may be sent to the lab for analysis, cell count,
or culture. Cystoscopy, passing a lighted tube into
the bladder through the urethra (the tube that carries
urine from the bladder to outside the body), may be performed to see the inner
lining of the bladder and examine it for growths or tumors. Biopsies (small samples of tissue) may be taken to examine under a
microscope. Other testing may include an intravenous pyelogram, an x-ray test using dye to look at the kidneys and ureters, the tubes that drain urine into the bladder from the kidneys.
If more invasive bladder cancer is suspected, other tests may be done to determine
if the cancer has spread to other areas.
Treatment usually includes transurethral (through
the urethra) resection of the bladder tumor. This surgical procedure is done
with the patient under anesthesia. More extensive surgery may be needed if
the bladder tumor has invaded beyond the lining of the bladder. This may include cystectomy (removal of the bladder) with creation of a
urine-draining system. Chemotherapy (use of anticancer
medications), radiation (x-ray) therapy, and immunologic
therapy may be used to treat advanced bladder cancer. Immunologic therapy
uses biologic agents to help the body's own immune system fight the bladder
cancer. Cancer clinical trials are an option for individuals who have advanced
or recurrent bladder cancer that has been resistant to standard treatment.
American Cancer Society 800/227-2345 http://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute 800/422-6237 http://www.cancer.gov
American Foundation for Urologic Disease 800/828-7866 http://www.afud.org
To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page
link on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. A Patient Page on cancer clinical trials was published in the June
9, 2004, issue; and one on kidney cancer was published in the July 7, 2004,
Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, American
Foundation for Urologic Disease
The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate
in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For
specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied
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Torpy JM, Lynm C, Glass RM. Bladder Cancer. JAMA. 2005;293(7):890. doi:10.1001/jama.293.7.890