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Bladder Cancer Causes & Diagnosis

Cause

The exact cause of bladder cancer is unknown, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing this type of cancer. Risk factors include:

  • Using tobacco, especially smoking cigarettes
  • Having a family history of bladder cancer
  • Having certain changes in the genes that are linked to bladder cancer
  • Being exposed to paints, dyes, metals or petroleum products in the workplace
  • Past treatment with radiation therapy to the pelvis or with certain anticancer drugs, such as cyclophosphamide or ifosfamide
  • Taking Aristolochia fangchi, a Chinese herb
  • Drinking water from a well that has high levels of arsenic
  • Drinking water that has been treated with chlorine
  • Having a history of bladder infections, including bladder infections caused by Schistosoma haematobium
  • Using urinary catheters for a long time

Older age is a risk factor for most cancers. The chance of getting cancer increases as you get older.

Detection & Diagnosis

Tests that examine the urine and bladder are used to help detect and diagnose bladder cancer; the following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Internal exam: An exam of the vagina and/or rectum. The doctor inserts lubricated, gloved fingers into the vagina and/or rectum to feel for lumps.
  • Urinalysis: A test to check the color of urine and its contents, such as sugar, protein, red blood cells and white blood cells.
  • Urine cytology: A laboratory test in which a sample of urine is checked under a microscope for abnormal cells.
  • Cystoscopy: A procedure to look inside the bladder and urethra to check for abnormal areas. A cystoscope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. A cystoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP): A series of X-rays of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder to find out if cancer is present in these organs. A contrast dye is injected into a vein. As the contrast dye moves through the kidneys, ureters and bladder, X-rays are taken to see if there are any blockages.
  • Biopsy: The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. A biopsy for bladder cancer is usually done during cystoscopy. It may be possible to remove the entire tumor during biopsy.

 

This content is provided by the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov)

Syndicated Content Details:
Source URL: https://www.cancer.gov/publishedcontent/syndication/1098.htm
Source Agency: National Cancer Institute (NCI)

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