Most cases of bladder cancer start from the cells lining the bladder. The exact cause of the disease isn’t always known, though several factors can increase risk:
- Cigarette smoking. Up to half of all bladder cancers in men and several in women may be caused by cigarette smoke.
- Chemical exposure at work. Dye workers, rubber workers, aluminum workers, leather workers, truck drivers, and pesticide applicators are at the highest risk.
- Radiation treatment: Women who had radiation therapy to treat cervical cancer have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Bladder infection: A long-term (chronic) bladder infection or irritation may lead to a certain type of bladder cancer.
Most cases of bladder cancer are highly treatable, with 85 percent to 90 percent of people still alive at five years. Physicians from Urology and Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist work closely together to determine the best treatment for each patient.
In cases where the cancer hasn’t spread beyond the bladder lining, the treatment is to “scrape” the bladder to remove cancerous cells. When the cancer is more advanced, the bladder may need to be removed. Wake Forest Baptist is one of a few centers in the country offering robotic surgery for cancer of the bladder. Our urologic surgeons have extensive experience using bowel to create a “new” bladder, often allowing urine to empty naturally.
Learn more about bladder cancer from the American Urological Association.