Bladder Cancer

What Is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder Cancer Treatment in Orange County, CA

No matter what your diagnosis, fighting cancer can be one of the most challenging and frightening parts of life – but whatever you’re up against, you’re never alone. At Orange County CyberKnife, we’re proud to provide world-class cancer treatment and care in our state-of-the-art Orange County cancer treatment center. Our team of doctors, oncologists, and cancer care specialists take a personalized, compassionate approach to cancer care, and the CyberKnife treatment we provide uses some of the most advanced cancer-fighting technology in the world. We proudly treat cancers throughout the entire body, and if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, we’re standing by to help.

Transitional Cell Carcinoma & Other Bladder Cancers

The bladder is a critical part of the excretory system. This small, balloon-shaped organ sits in the pelvis, where it collects urine from the kidneys and stores it until urination. The bladder is capable of expanding and contracting to accommodate its contents thanks to its muscular walls. The bladder is one of the most important parts of the body’s system for cleansing and removing waste from the blood.

90% of bladder cancer cases are transitional cell carcinoma, and normally, bladder cancer is easily treatable. Other bladder cancers include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and small cell carcinoma, which combined make up about 10% of bladder cancer cases.

Three-quarters of bladder cancer cases are only in the lining of the bladder, called superficial bladder cancer. That’s a good thing – superficial bladder cancer cases are easy to treat and have excellent survival rates. Roughly 25% of the time, the cancer is invasive, meaning it has expanded past the lining and infiltrated the muscular walls of the bladder. After crossing this threshold, the cancer is more likely to metastasize (spread) to other areas of the body, making treatment more difficult. As with all forms of cancer, both superficial and invasive bladder cancer are best treated when detected, diagnosed, and treated early on. That said, the team at OC CyberKnife has helped patients overcome bladder cancer at all stages.

Bladder Cancer Statistics

  • While not one of the most well-known forms of cancer, bladder cancer is surprisingly common. The American Cancer Society estimates that roughly 80,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed each year.
  • Bladder cancer is about twice as common in Caucasians as in African-Americans, and roughly four times more common for men than for women.
  • Bladder cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers for both men and women, coming in at 4th most common for men and 8th most common for women.
  • Non-invasive bladder cancers confined only to the bladder lining have a 94% survival rate at five years after treatment. For bladder cancer as a whole, the five-year survival rate is 82%.
  • 90% of bladder cancer diagnoses happen after the patient turns 55, with the median age of diagnosis being 73.

Contact Your Orange County Cancer Treatment Center

Whether the prognosis is very good or more troubling, a cancer diagnosis is scary – but at OC CyberKnife, we’re here to help. We’re proud to have helped countless patients throughout the Orange County, CA area beat cancer and achieve total health, and we bring state-of-the-art medical technology and practices to every case we treat. If you have any questions on cancer treatment for the bladder or any other condition, feel free to take a look at our FAQ page, or if you have a more specific question, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 714.962.7100. If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with cancer and aren’t sure what treatment to choose, we encourage you to reach out to us at our contact page to schedule an appointment even if you’ve already spoken with a treatment specialist and just want a second opinion. As a premier radiation therapy cancer treatment facility in Orange County, we use some of the most advanced technologies in the world to treat cancer effectively, comfortably, and conveniently. No matter what you’re facing, we’ll help you overcome it. Call us today to take the first step towards reclaiming your health, your happiness, and your life.

Bladder Cancer: Detection & Treatment Options

Screening for bladder cancer

Screening is the use of tests or exams to look for a disease in people who have no symptoms. At this time, no major professional organizations recommend routine screening of the general public for bladder cancer.

This is because no screening test has been shown to lower the risk of dying from bladder cancer in people who are at average risk.

Some doctors may recommend bladder cancer screening for people at very high risk, such as:

  • People who hadbladder cancer before
  • People who had certain birth defectsof the bladder
  • People exposed to certain chemicals at work

While no screening tests are recommended for people at average risk, bladder cancer can often be found early because it causes blood in the urine or other urinary symptoms. Many of these symptoms often have less serious causes, but it’s important to have them checked by a doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed. If the symptoms are from bladder cancer, finding it early offers the best chance for successful treatment.

Bladder cancer treatment

If you’ve been diagnosed with bladder cancer, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. It’s important that you think carefully about your choices. You will want to weigh the benefits of each treatment option against the possible risks and side effects

Which treatments are used for bladder cancer?

Depending on the stage of the cancer and other factors, treatment options for people with bladder cancer can include:

  • Surgery
  • Intravesical therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Sometimes, the best option might include more than one of type of treatment. Surgery, alone or with other treatments, is part of the treatment for most bladder cancers. Surgery can often remove early­stage bladder tumors. But a major concern in people with early­stage bladder cancer is that new cancers often form in other parts of the bladder over time. Removing the entire bladder (known as a radical cystectomy) is one way to avoid this, but it can have major side effects. If the entire bladder is not removed, other treatments may be given to try to reduce the risk of new cancers. Whether or not other treatments are given, close follow­up is needed to look for signs of new cancers in the bladder.

Bladder Cancer: Types & Stages

Several types of cancer can start in the bladder

Urothelial carcinoma (transitional cell carcinoma)

Urothelial carcinoma, also known as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), is by far the most common type of bladder cancer. In fact, if you are told you have bladder cancer it is almost certain to be a urothelial carcinoma. These cancers start in the urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder.

Urothelial cells also line other parts of the urinary tract, such as the part of the kidney that connects to the ureter (called the renal pelvis), the ureters, and the urethra. Patients with bladder cancer sometimes have other tumors in these places, so the entire urinary tract needs to be checked for tumors.

Invasive versus non­invasive bladder cancer

Bladder cancers are often described based on how far they have invaded into the wall of the bladder:

  • Non-­invasive cancers are still in the inner layer of cells (the transitional epithelium) but have not grown into the deeper layers.
  • Invasive cancers have grown into deeper layers of the bladder wall. These cancers are more likely to spread and are harder to treat.

A bladder cancer can also be described as superficial or non­muscle invasive. These terms include both non­invasive tumors as well as any invasive tumors that have not grown into the main muscle layer of the bladder.

Papillary versus flat cancer

Bladder cancers are also divided into 2 subtypes, papillary and flat, based on how they grow (see image above).

  • Papillary carcinomasgrow in slender, finger­like projections from the inner surface of the bladder toward the hollow center. Papillary tumors often grow toward the center of the bladder without growing into the deeper bladder layers. These tumors are called non­invasive papillary cancers. Very low­grade (slow growing), non­invasive papillary cancer is sometimes called papillary urothelial neoplasm of low­malignant potential (PUNLMP) and tends to have a very good outcome.
  • Flat carcinomasdo not grow toward the hollow part of the bladder at all. If a flat tumor is only in the inner layer of bladder cells, it is known as a non­invasive flat carcinoma or a flat carcinoma in situ (CIS).

If either a papillary or flat tumor grows into deeper layers of the bladder, it is called an invasive urothelial (or transitional cell) carcinoma.

Bladder Cancer: FAQs

Seek medical help: The most important thing you can do if you suspect you may have bladder cancer is to see a physician, preferably a urologist as soon as possible. Most bladder cancers can be treated effectively with early detection. If you are found to have bladder cancer – do not lose hope! Today, there are more than one­half million bladder cancer survivors in the U.S. alone

Answer :

Bladder cancer is the nation’s sixth most common form of cancer with more than 73,000 new cases and about 15,000
deaths each year. Even though it is very common, it is one from of cancer that most people know very little about. Bladder cancer, also referred to as urothelial carcinoma, begins when the cells in the lining of the bladder start to grow out of control. It may also occur anywhere in the urethra, renal pelvis and ureters.

Answer :

The most common symptom is blood in the urine. Other symptoms include irritation when urinating, urgency, and frequency of urination. These are also common symptoms of a urinary tract infection. If you have any of these symptoms, go see your doctor.

Answer :

The exact causes remain unknown, but smoking has been found to be the greatest risk factor for bladder cancer, with smokers getting bladder cancer twice as often as people who don’t smoke. Other risk factors include exposure to carcinogens in the environment. Workers in the rubber, chemical and leather industries are at risk, as are hairdressers, machinists, metal workers, painters, textile workers and firefighters.

Answer :

There are many tests your doctor can use including ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRI scansto detect irregularities in the bladder wall, which would suggest a possible cancer. The urologist will also perform a cystoscopy by looking inside the bladder with a long thin camera to visually examine your bladder and remove samples of any suspicious areas for biopsy. Urine cytology can be performed to detect cancer cells in urine. Other tests use urine­based markers to detect cells or substances in a urine sample that are relatively specific to bladder cancer.

Bladder Preservation Therapy –Although bladder removal, with or without chemotherapy, is the treatment usually offered for muscle­invasive bladder cancer, for some patients it might be possible to use high­dose external beam radiation therapy in combination with chemotherapy. This allows the patient to keep their bladder, and still leaves the possibility of removing the bladder later if tumors recur

Answer :

There are many bladder cancer support groups across the United States. Visit to find one near you. There is also an online support community available to survivors, caregivers and loved ones 24 hours a day. It is free to join and more than 5,000 members have posted thousands of different discussions supporting each other in battling bladder cancer. There are also general cancer support groups through hospitals and the Cancer Support Community.

Answer :

Seek medical help: The most important thing you can do if you suspect you may have bladder cancer is to see a physician, preferably a urologist as soon as possible. Most bladder cancers can be treated effectively with early detection. If you are found to have bladder cancer – do not lose hope! Today, there are more than one­half million bladder cancer survivors in the U.S. alone