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Arkansas Urology is the largest urology practice in Arkansas and continues to offer the latest innovations in medical technology and surgical techniques to patients with a variety of urological conditions.

Bladder Cancer


The bladder is a hollow balloon-shaped muscular organ that stores urine until you are ready to release it. The urine is produced in the kidneys, then flows through tubes called the ureters into the bladder. From there it is discharged through the urethra during urination. The bladder muscle aids urination by contracting to help force out urine.

Bladder cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of the bladder. More than 90 percent of bladder cancer originates in the bladder lining (transitional cell carcinoma), and the majority of diagnosed tumors are confined to the lining. Other types of bladder cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in men and the eighth most common type of cancer in women. Bladder cancer typically occurs in older people. Nearly 90 percent of people with bladder cancer are over the age of 55.

Education/General Information

No one knows exactly what causes bladder cancer. But, we do know that cigarette smoking has been estimated to cause 50 percent of all bladder cancer cases in the United States. In fact, experts believe that smoking causes about half of bladder cancer cases in men and more than one-fourth of bladder cancer cases in women. Long-term workplace exposure to chemical compounds such as paints and solvents has been estimated to cause another 20 to 25 percent of bladder cancer cases. A high-fat diet, recurring urinary infections and advancing age are other risk factors.

Symptoms of bladder cancer are similar to those of other urinary tract problems. Blood in the urine is the main symptom. Others may include having to urinate often, painful urination and pain in the lower back. However, these symptoms may be the result of a urinary tract infection, kidney stones or another urinary problem, so it is important to call Arkansas Urology to receive an accurate diagnosis.


To diagnose bladder cancer, your doctor will:

  • Ask about your medical history and conduct a physical exam, including a vaginal or rectal exam.
  • Test your urine to look for blood or abnormal cells. Your doctor may also order radiological imaging of the kidneys, ureter and bladder to find out where the blood in your urine originates.
  • Perform a cystoscopy, a test that lets your doctor look into your bladder with a thin, lighted viewing tool. Small tissue samples (biopsies) are taken and examined under a microscope to find out if cancer cells are present.


Bladder cancer treatment is best determined by the stage and grade of your cancer. The stage of cancer is determined by where the cancer is and how much it has grown and spread. Cancer can be low-grade, middle-grade or high-grade depending on the amount and irregular shape of the cancer cells. The three stages of bladder cancer are described below:

  • At the superficial stage, the tumor is confined to the bladder lining.
  • At the invasive stage, the tumor has begun to grow into the muscle or fat layers of the bladder.
  • At the metastatic stage, cancer cells have spread to other areas of the body outside the bladder.

Treatment options for bladder cancer include:

  • Transurethral resection (TUR) involves removing the tumor from the bladder with a cytoscope.
  • Intravesical therapy is the placement of liquid medication directly into the bladder to help destroy and prevent cancer cell formation.
  • Chemotherapy is the use of intravenous medication to destroy cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy uses beams of energy to destroy cancer cells.
  • Cystectomy is the surgical removal of the bladder.
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