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Glendale: 602.375.1700

Arrowhead: 602.942.5600

Deer Valley: 623.582.6420

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Mesa: 480.834.4188

Peoria: 602.375.1700

Phoenix-Downtown: 602.264.4431

Scottsdale: 480.661.2662

Arizona Prostate Cancer Center – Phoenix: 602.557.0055

Arizona Prostate Cancer Center – Scottsdale: 602.557.0060

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Bladder Cancer

Most bladder cancers are urothelial cell carcinomas (cancer that begins in cells that normally make up the inner lining of the bladder). Other types include squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in thin, flat cells) and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). The cells that form squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma develop in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation.

Risk Factors

  • SMOKING – Smoking tobacco is the most important risk factor for bladder cancer. Smoking causes most of the cases of bladder cancer. People who smoke for many years have a higher risk than nonsmokers or those who smoke for a short time.
  • CHEMICALS – Some people have a higher risk of bladder cancer because of cancer-causing chemicals in their workplace. Workers in the dye, rubber, chemical, metal, textile, and leather industries may be at risk of bladder cancer. Also at risk are hairdressers, machinists, printers, painters, and truck drivers. (NCI)
  • CERTAIN CANCER TREATMENTS – People with cancer who have been treated with certain drugs (such as cyclophosphamide) may be at increased risk of bladder cancer. Also, people who have had radiation therapy to the abdomen or pelvis may be at increased risk.
  • ARSENIC – Arsenic is a poison that increases the risk of bladder cancer. In some areas of the world, arsenic may be found at high levels in drinking water. However, the United States has safety measures limiting the arsenic level in public drinking water.
  • FAMILY HISTORY – People with family members who have bladder cancer have a slightly increased risk of the disease.


  • Painless blood in the urine – the most common symptom
  • Burning during urination
  • Frequent urination or a sense of incomplete emptying
  • Low back pain on either side of the body


  • Surgical removal of the tumor may be the only treatment if the tumor does not invade the bladder wall
  • If the tumor crosses the bladder wall, BCG vaccine therapy is an option
  • If the tumor has spread to surrounding lymph nodes, chemotherapy may be suggested

Preventing Bladder Cancer

Quitting smoking is the number one thing you can do to help prevent bladder cancer. Chemicals in tobacco smoke are absorbed into the blood, pass through the kidneys and collect in the urine. These chemicals can damage the inside of the bladder and increase your chances of getting bladder cancer.

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