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Incidence of bladder cancer

Malignant bladder tumour
Malignant bladder tumour indenting the radioopaque dye at the base = black indentations into the bladder (left panel) and after treatment (right panel)

Cancer of the bladder is a relatively common cancer. It tends to occur in later life with a male preponderance and presents (usually) by blood in the urine (haematuria). The first investigation is cystoscopy (a procedure where the doctor looks into the bladder through the urethra, nowadays with a fibre optic scope) which allows the visualisation of the bladder's internal lining, from which all bladder cancers arise.

 

Early bladder cancer may appear as a polyp that can be fully rescted (cut out or burnt with diathermy- heat). Early stages of the cancer may require no other therapy other than repeated cystoscopies over time to check that the tumour has not recurred or new ones arisen.

 

There are 11,000 cases of bladder cancer diagnosed in the UK annually and most are of the early form just described. However, ultimately, the death rate from this disease in the UK is approximately 5,000 per year (and in the USA 11,000 per year) emphasising that this disease is an important health hazard.


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