One of the most common cancers in the United States affecting over 65,000 men and women a year. Most common cause is smoking. Symptoms almost always start with blood in the urine but can also be urinary urgency, frequency or burning.
Diagnosis is by placing a scope in the bladder, which is done in the office under local anesthesia. Patients also usually get some form of X ray studies.
80% of bladder cancers are superficial and found early. These can be treated by resection of the tumors using a scope. This is done under anesthesia either in the hospital or a surgery center.
For large tumors, recurrent cancers or high grade lesions, we will sometimes recommend intravesical therapy. This consists of placing a medication in the bladder weekly for 6 weeks. This is done in the office and takes a few minutes.
Rarely bladder cancers are invasive and require removal of the bladder and possibly chemotherapy.
Bladder cancers tend to recur and therefore require scheduled (per guidelines) scopes for a number of years after the initial diagnosis and treatment.