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Clinical Specialties - Cancer

Bladder Cancer

San MDTBladder cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the bladder grow and divide in an uncontrolled way.

The bladder cancer experts at Sydney Adventist Hospital form part of our Uro-Oncology Multidisciplinary Team San Uro-Oncology MDTand use several methods to confirm your diagnosis and determine the stage of your disease. They have experience with early-stage as well as complex cancer; have access to advanced diagnostic tools and a wide range of treatments, including clinical trials. At the same time, our supportive clinicians help you manage side effects to support your quality of life. Explore this section to learn more about kidney cancer, its side effects and your treatment options.

About bladder cancer

Each year more than 2500 Australians are diagnosed with bladder cancer according to the Cancer Council.

Different types of bladder cancer include:

  • Urothelial carcinoma is the most common form of bladder cancer (80-90%) and starts in the urothelial cells lining the bladder wall. It is sometimes called transitional cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the thin, flat cells that line the bladder. It accounts for 1-2% of all bladder cancers and is more likely to be invasive
  • Adenocarcinoma is a rare form which starts in mucus-producing cells in the bladder. It is likely to be invasive and accounts for about 1% of all cases.
What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (haematuria), which usually occurs suddenly and is generally not painful.

Other less common symptoms include:

  • problems emptying the bladder
  • a burning feeling when passing urine
  • need to pass urine often
  • blood in urine
  • lower abdominal or back pain.

These symptoms may also be caused by other conditions. If you are concerned, then please check with your general practitioner (GP).

Who is at risk of getting bladder cancer?

Most people diagnosed with bladder cancer are aged over 60, and it is significantly more common in men than in women. Some of the factors that can increase your risk of bladder cancer include:

  • smoking
  • workplace exposure to certain chemicals used in dyeing in the textile, petrochemical and rubber industries
  • previous cancer treatments including use of the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide and radiotherapy to the pelvic region
  • diabetes
  • family history
  • chronic infections or inflammation of the bladder
  • long-term catheter use
How is bladder cancer diagnosed?

A cystoscopy is the common procedure used to diagnose bladder cancer by examining the inside of the bladder using a small tube with a camera inserted into the urethra. If abnormal tissues are detected, a tissue sample (biopsy) will then be taken.

Other tests to diagnose bladder cancer may include:

  • Urine tests to check for blood, bacteria and any cancer or pre-cancer cells
  • Blood tests
  • CT scans produce three-dimensional pictures of the bladder which can help in the detection of any tumours
  • Ultrasound scans also produce pictures of the bladder and can show the presence and size of cancer, however small tumours may be difficult to detect by ultrasound.
What are my treatment options?

Treatment for bladder cancer will depend on the size, location and extent of the tumour. Based on your diagnosis and recommendations from the multidisciplinary team of bladder cancer experts, your treatment may include any or some of the following:

  • Surgery (transurethral resection and / or cystectomy)
  • Immunotherapy
  • Intravesical therapy (treatment directly into the bladder)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
Resources and useful bladder cancer links
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Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical Specialties and Services