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Bladder Cancer

London Bridge Urology offers an extensive range of treatments for bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer occurs most commonly in people aged between 50 and 70 years of age. It is the fourth most common cancer in men and eighth most common cancer in women in the UK. One of the most common symptoms of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (haematuria). You may also have similar symptoms to having a urine infection like pain when passing urine or or the urge to pass more frequently.

The exact causes of bladder cancer are not currently known. You are however, more likely to develop bladder cancer if you:

  • Smoke. Chemicals found in tobacco enter the blood stream and are then filtered out by the kidneys. It is thought that these chemicals can cause damage to the bladder lining, which can then lead to bladder cancer.
  • Have a history of bladder cancer in your family.
  • Previously worked in the dye chemical or print industry. Certain chemicals that were used in these industries have now been banned as they are known to cause cancer.
  • Have repeated bladder infections, e.g. cystitis.
  • Have previously had baldder cancer.
  • Develop a bladder infection called schistosomiasis, caused by a parasite in certain tropical countries.

Treatment options

Depending on the stage and grade of the tumour, a number of treatment options for bladder cancer may be discussed, your consultant will go through each one with you.

Transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) - this procedure involves removing the tumour with a telescope passed down your urethra (water pipe). Find out more.

Blue light cystoscopy - this procedure involves passing a chemical called hexyl aminolievulinate (HAL) using a catheter. Any cancer cells will absorb the chemical and glow red so they are easily visible to your consultant who will be using a special blue light camera. Find out more.

Instillation of chemicals - (BCG or Mitomycin) into your bladder to try and prevent recurrence of the cancer.

Radical cystectomy (removal of your bladder). Your consultant may choose to do this open, laparoscopic (key-hole) or with robotic-assisted surgery. Find out more.

Radiotherapy - x-rays are targeted at your bladder over a number of treatments to try and destroy the cancer cells.

Chemotherapy - the use of anti-cancer drugs given intravenously (into a vein), to destroy the cancer cells.

Most bladder tumours are managed using cystoscopic techniques (surgeons operate through a telescope placed into the bladder). More abnormal or aggressive tumours may need open surgery or robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery. Your consultant surgeon will discuss this with you based on your individual circumstances.

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