Bladder Cancer FAQs
A bladder cancer diagnosis may spark more questions than answers, leaving you feeling confused, alone, angry or a combination of many emotions. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we understand the challenges that come with receiving a diagnosis of cancer and strive to help each of our patients throughout their entire journey to recovery.
To help you get started learning about your condition, check out the articles below:
- Is it a urinary tract infection or bladder cancer?
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder cancer share many common symptoms. Therefore, if you have persistent UTI symptoms, it's especially important to be evaluated by a physician who can provide an accurate diagnosis.
- What are some statistics about bladder cancer?
There are many statistics about bladder cancer, including stats regarding who is most commonly diagnosed, at what stage it is most often found, survival rates and much more. More than 90% of people diagnosed with bladder cancer are over the age of 55, with the average age being 73. Bladder cancer is most often diagnosed early, with only about 4% of diagnoses occurring after the cancer has already spread.
- What are three things to know about bladder cancer treatment?
One of the things to know about bladder cancer treatment is that there are often many options available due to the fact that it is frequently detected in early stages. Second, the most common treatment for bladder cancer is surgery. And third, clinical trials are available for bladder cancer patients, offering innovative treatment options that aren’t widely accessible.
- How do bladder cancer symptoms differ in women versus men?
Bladder cancer symptoms are generally the same for women as they are for men. However, the most common symptom is blood in the urine, which is commonly mistaken for menstruation by women, and thereby overlooked. As men are more likely to notice blood in the urine, bladder cancer is often diagnosed earlier in men than in women.
- What are 10 questions you should ask your bladder cancer specialist?
There is a lot of information to process after receiving a bladder cancer diagnosis. Bring a list of any questions you have with you to ask your bladder cancer specialist. Your specialist can answer questions about your diagnosis and your cancer’s progression, your treatment plan and options available, side effects of treatment, clinical trials, supportive care and more.
- How serious is bladder cancer surgery?
There are several types of surgery that may be used for bladder cancer, some of which being more extensive than others. More extensive procedures are generally considered to be more serious. Some surgical procedures can be performed with a more minimally invasive approach, such as by removing a tumor with a resectoscope through the urethra, whereas more complex surgeries involve removing some or all of the bladder.
- What should I expect with a bladder cancer diagnosis?
Every patient and cancer is different, so in order to understand what to expect with your diagnosis, you should be sure to bring any question and concerns to your doctors. Ask your doctors questions about your specific diagnosis, your treatment plan, side effects your treatments may cause and any other concerns you may have regarding your care.
- What symptoms aren’t commonly known for being linked to bladder cancer?
Some symptoms, such as blood in the urine, are commonly recognized as being associated with bladder cancer. There are, however, lesser-known symptoms of bladder cancer, including frequent urination, painful urination, lower-back pain, abdominal pain and feeling the need to urinate but being unable to do so.
- How do you test for bladder cancer?
There are several types of tests that a physician may use to check for bladder cancer after evaluating a patient’s symptoms. Some tests used for bladder cancer diagnosis include urinalysis, urine cytology, imaging tests and cystoscopy. Further testing may be necessary if a physician suspects the cancer has spread.
- What are the symptoms of advanced bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer typically causes symptoms in earlier stages, before it has spread, making it more likely to be caught early. When it does spread, however, advanced bladder cancer symptoms can include inability to urinate, lower back pain on one side of the body, loss of appetite, bone pain, unintended weight loss, swollen feet or overwhelming fatigue.
- What does a mass on the bladder mean?
A mass on the bladder could indicate bladder cancer, but sometimes a mass on the bladder could be a benign polyp. When a mass is benign, it can still produce symptoms and has the potential to become malignant (cancerous) in the future. Many people with benign bladder masses do not develop cancer.
If you have questions or concerns about your bladder cancer diagnosis, speaking with a physician about your condition may help you find the information you’re looking for. At Moffitt, the multispecialty team that makes up our Urologic Oncology Program works together in regular tumor board meetings to give patients individualized treatment plans. This approach helps to ensure that each patient’s treatment is tailored to his or her unique needs to provide the best chance of a positive outcome and an improved quality of life.