Urology discussion: The signs and symptoms of bladder cancer


Urology discussion: The signs and symptoms of bladder cancer

Dr. Cletus Georges MD

In today’s installment of the continuing series of educational blogs on urology, Dr. Cletus Georges answers some of the most frequently asked questions in urology — bladder cancer.  He hopes that in answering these questions, there’ll be a better understanding and awareness on the matter.

What is bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer typically refers to any type of cancer coming from the urinary bladder tissues.

What is the main symptom of bladder cancer?

The main symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine.  However, as Dr. Cletus Georges explains, in most cases, the blood may not be visible to the naked eye, hence the need for testing.  Through testing, the blood can be seen via a microscope.  It also should be noted that 8 to 9 out of every 10 patients with bladder cancer presented with visible blood.  Another crucial point that Dr. Cletus Georges emphasizes is that the early stages of the disease are relatively painless. 

What are the other symptoms of bladder cancer?

Cletus Georges, M.D., explains that there are other symptoms to look for in bladder cancer, such as pain or discomfort during urination, frequent urination, and feeling the need to urinate without being able to do so.  Like blood in the urine, these signs and symptoms are not specific to bladder cancer and may also be caused by non-cancerous conditions.  In some rarer forms of bladder cancer, the bladder produces mucus, which in turn causes the urine to be thicker.

What are the most common risk factors of bladder cancer?

Tobacco smoking has been associated with over 50% of bladder cancer cases in men and over 30%  in women.  However, in recent years, this number has gone down.

Other risk factors include genetics, consumption of opium, exposure to carcinogens at the workplace, chronic infection in the bladder region, and more.

How is bladder cancer diagnosed?

The diagnosis of bladder cancer is based on symptoms and the results of cystoscopy and tissue biopsies.

How is bladder cancer treated?

Dr. Cletus Georges mentions that the treatment of bladder cancer depends on the stage of cancer.  Depending on the stage, the treatments range from surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy, or a combination of these.

Presently employed at Health Orlando Urology, urologist Dr. Cletus Georges has also worked as a contract urologist at William Jennings Bryan at Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, SC, and the Florida Urology Associates Florida Hospital Medical Group.  He has also been a teacher, adviser, peer review committee member, and department chairman.  For more articles on urology, click here.