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a doctor explains what a bladder mass in bladder means to a patient

A mass (tumor) that is found on the bladder— the muscular sac in the pelvic region that stores urine— can sometimes be indicative of bladder cancer. In other cases, a bladder mass could be a benign (noncancerous) polyp, which is a small, cauliflower-like growth that can potentially turn into bladder cancer in the future. Many people with bladder polyps do not develop cancer, but some may experience bothersome symptoms like frequent or painful urination that require medical attention.

How bladder masses are detected

If a physician suspects the presence of a bladder mass, they’ll likely perform a cystoscopy to confirm their findings. During this procedure, the physician inserts a cystoscope—a long, thin, flexible tube with a light and a camera on one end—through the patient’s urethra and into their bladder. Once the cystoscope has been inserted, the physician uses it to inspect the lining of the bladder wall and determine whether there are any abnormal cells present. If the physician encounters suspicious cells, they can also use the cystoscope to collect a sample for further testing (biopsy).

What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?

You probably can’t detect a bladder mass on your own, so it’s beneficial to be familiar with the potential symptoms of bladder cancer and seek medical care if they occur. Some of the most common signs of bladder cancer include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Burning sensations or pain while urinating
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder
  • An unusually weak urine stream
  • A frequent urge to urinate, even when the bladder is empty
  • Low back pain on one side

It’s important to note that bladder cancer shares many symptoms with urinary tract infections and other benign conditions. If you notice changes in your urination or have any symptoms that concern you, be sure to promptly speak with a physician. It’s also a good idea to let your physician know if anyone in your family has been diagnosed with bladder cancer or if you have experienced bladder problems before.

Moffitt’s approach to bladder cancer

Moffitt Cancer Center caters to patients in all stages of treatment and recovery. The multispecialty team in our Urologic Oncology Program provides screening for high-risk patients, diagnostics, advanced treatment and supportive care in a single location. We were also the first hospital in Florida to offer the Cysview® Blue Light Cystoscopy in tandem with advanced SAPHIRA™ cystoscopy equipment during transurethral resection of a bladder tumor (TURBT).

If you would like to consult with a Moffitt oncologist specializing in bladder cancer about your symptoms, risk factors or treatment options, we’re ready to help. Contact us at 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online to visit Moffitt with or without a referral. 

Medically reviewed by Scott Gilbert, MD, Department of Genitourinary Oncology.


Cancer.Net: Bladder Cancer – Symptoms and Signs