Bladder cancer is the tenth most common cancer in the UK, with about 10,000 people diagnosed with it every year. It describes a growth of abnormal tissue, known as a tumour, developing in the bladder lining. The bladder is part of the urinary system, which filters waste products out of your blood and makes urine.
When to see your GP
“If you ever have blood in your urine – even if it comes and goes – you should visit your GP, so the cause can be investigated,” advises the health body.
It is worth nothing that having blood in your urine doesn’t automatically mean you have bladder cancer.
According to the NHS, more common causes include:
- A urinary tract infection, such as cystitis
- A kidney infection
- Kidney stones
- An enlarged prostate gland, in men
Am I at risk?
The risk of developing bladder cancer depends on a number of things, including your age, genetics and lifestyle and environmental factors.
One of the most prominent risk factors is smoking cigarettes, which half of all bladder cancers, according to Cancer Research UK.
Your risk of getting bladder cancer if you smoke is up to four times that of someone who has never smoked, warns the charity.
Research shows that having many bladder infections or long lasting infections can also increase your risk of developing bladder cancer.
Some research has also shown that you may be at an increased risk of getting bladder cancer if you’re overweight or obese.
But more research is needed and it’s unclear how much of an increased risk there may be.
In rare cases, bladder cancer is associated with an inherited faulty gene, says Cancer Research UK.
A study from Italy showed that this risk is greater if you have a first degree relative with bladder cancer who is under the age of 65 years old.
How is it treated?
The treatment options for bladder cancer largely depend on how advanced the cancer is.
“Treatments usually differ between early stage, non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer and more advanced muscle-invasive bladder cancer,” explains the NHS.