What Causes Bladder Cancer in Females?

Reviewed on 4/28/2021

Bladder cancer is cancer that begins in the cells of the urinary bladder.
Bladder cancer is cancer that begins in the cells of the urinary bladder.

Bladder cancer is cancer that begins in the cells of the urinary bladder. The urinary bladder is a hollow muscular organ in the lower abdomen that is responsible for the storage of urine filtered by the kidneys. Bladder cancer is a common urologic cancer that has the highest recurrence rate of any malignancy. Bladder cancer is more common in men compared to women. However, the causes and risk factors of bladder cancer are the same in women and men.

Bladder cancer is caused when deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the cells of the bladder mutate or change, disabling the functions that control cell growth. This results in uncontrolled, abnormal growth and multiplication of cells in the bladder. The exact cause of the mutations is unknown. Several factors can increase the risk of bladder cancer in men and women.

Risk factors for bladder cancer

Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes cause harmful chemicals to accumulate in the urine. These harmful chemicals may damage the lining of the bladder, increasing the risk of developing cancer. Other risk factors include

What are the types of bladder cancer?

Different types of cells in the bladder can become cancerous. The type of cell where cancer begins determines the type of bladder cancer. They include

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What are the stages of bladder cancer?

Doctors assign the stage of bladder cancer by combining the T, N and M classifications.

  • Tumor (T): The size and location of the tumor.
  • Node (N): The tumor spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Metastasis (M): Determines cancer spread to other parts of the body.

The stages of bladder cancer indicate the following.

  • Stage 0 bladder cancer hasn’t spread past the lining of the bladder.
  • Stage I bladder cancer has spread past the lining of the bladder, but it hasn’t reached the layer of muscle in the bladder.
  • Stage II bladder cancer has spread to the layer of muscle in the bladder.
  • Stage III bladder cancer has spread into the tissues that surround the bladder.
  • Stage IV bladder cancer has spread past the bladder to the neighboring areas of the body.

What are the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer?

Many people with bladder cancer at first may have painless, bloody urine. Most often, bladder cancer is diagnosed after a person finds blood in the urine. Several symptoms might indicate bladder cancer, such as fatigue, weight loss and bone tenderness; these can indicate more advanced disease. The common symptoms include

  • Blood or blood clots in the urine
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling the need to urinate many times throughout the night
  • Feeling the need to urinate but not being able to pass urine
  • Lower back pain on one side of the body

How is bladder cancer diagnosed?

Bladder cancer can be diagnosed in the following ways.

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How is bladder cancer treated?

The doctor will work with the patient to decide what treatment to provide based on the symptoms, type and stage of the bladder cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health. In general, the main treatment options for bladder cancer are

How can bladder cancer be prevented?

Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent bladder cancer, taking certain steps can help reduce the risk, such as

  • Quitting smoking
  • Taking caution around chemicals
  • Regular checkup in case of occupational chemical exposure
  • Following a healthy diet

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References
Babaian KN. Bladder Cancer. Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/438262-overview

Lotan Y, Choueiri TK. Clinical Presentation, Diagnosis, and Staging of Bladder Cancer. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-presentation-diagnosis-and-staging-of-bladder-cancer?search=bladder-cancer&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

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