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What is Bladder Cancer? What Causes It?

By Dr. Shailesh Chandra Sahay in Urology

Dec 20 , 2017 | 2 min read

Rare in people under the age of 40 and usually affecting older adults, bladder cancer is more prevalent in men and is one of the most common cancers. It is caused when the cells inside the urinary bladder grow uncontrollably. Most bladder cancers start from urothelium- the epithelium of the urinary bladder. It usually takes a lot of time to grow, and smokers are more likely to develop this cancer than non-smokers. Furthermore, if diagnosed at an early stage, bladder cancer is highly treatable.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Burning sensation or pain during urination
  • Urgent feeling of urination
  • Lower back pain
  • Urination many times throughout the night

These symptoms may also be because of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). However, it’s advisable to contact a health specialist at any of the Delhi cancer hospitals. The immediate consultation will help to find out the actual problem and its cause(s) followed by a proper bladder cancer treatment.

Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer

Some of the risk factors like consumption of alcoholic drinks and smoking can be changed, others like hereditary and age cant are changed. However, having a single or several risk factors does not necessarily mean that the person will surely have the disease. Yes, the chances do increase.


With every puff of a cigarette, a person inhales a large number of harmful chemicals. These chemicals, over the time, build up in the bladder and may cause damage to the lining of the bladder, thus increasing the risk of cancer.

Chronic Bladder Inflammation

Someone who has or has had bladder infection in the past has an increased chance of developing bladder cancer. If the condition keeps coming back and the bladder is irritated for an extended period, it’s better to consult an oncologist at Max Healthcare. We are rated as one of the best cancer hospitals in Delhi and have a panel of exceptional doctors with a laudable track record of treating cancer patients.

Prolonged Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

Prolonged exposure to chemicals like beta-naphthylamine and benzidine is also linked to bladder cancer. Those working in industries that use certain organic chemicals are at a higher risk of developing bladder cancer. However, it can take more than 25 years for this cancer to develop through exposure to harmful chemicals.

History of Radiation or Chemotherapy

People who have a history of radiation or chemotherapy for a long time are more likely to develop bladder cancer.

Family History

Anyone with a family history of bladder cancer has a high risk of developing it. In addition, because they may also share changes in the genes, which can make it hard to break down certain toxins.

The Stages of Bladder Cancer

Stages of bladder cancer
Stage I- Tumor confined to the bladder without involving the bladder muscle wall
Stage-II- Tumor involving the bladder wall
Stage III- Tumor involving the fat adjacent to the bladder with lymph node involvement
Stage IV- Tumour involving pelvic or abdominal wall, with or without distant spread

Prevention of Bladder Cancer

There are a few steps that one can take to reduce the risk. Although these measures don’t guarantee 100% prevention to bladder cancer, there’s no harm in taking precautions.

  • Cut down on smoking
  • Stay safe from using chemicals and take precautions
  • Include a variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet as the antioxidants present in them reduce the risk of cancer