What is bladder cancer?

The bladder is located in the lower area of the pelvis and is a hollow organ in which the body collects urine. Bladder cancer occurs when cells in the bladder start to grow out of control. Most bladder cancers develop in the inner layers of the bladder, although some can grow into the deeper bladder layers. As cancer grows through these layers into the wall of the bladder, it becomes harder to treat. The lining of the bladder, where most tumours initiate, is also found in the inner layers of the kidneys, ureters and urethra. So similar cancers can occur in these areas – though much less frequently.

Can I prevent bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer develops slowly. This means the risk of developing bladder cancer increases as you get older. There are things you can do throughout your life to reduce your chances of developing it and we recommend these steps:

  1. Don’t smoke. It doesn’t only affect your lungs and is the highest risk factor.
  2. Try to avoid industrial chemicals, which can be found in printing inks, dyes and paint. These chemicals are used in the making of rubber,leather and textiles. If you think you may be exposed to these through your work, be sure to ask your employer about the risks to you and organising the proper protective clothing and equipment.
  3. Don’t cook meat at a very high temperature, and don’t eat burnt or charred meat.
  4. Drink plenty of water. And then drink some more.
  5. Exercise and eat lots of lovely fruit and vegetables.

Learn more about nutrition and exercise.

How do I know if I do have bladder cancer?

If you find you need to urinate more often, and that you experience pain when you do, then you should visit your doctor. You may have an infection, which he or she will be able to treat. Your doctor will also check your pee for traces of blood, which is a possible symptom of bladder cancer.