Bladder Cancer

Specialists at Beaumont treat several hundred cases of bladder cancer each year. As part of a national program by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, has been named a Blue Distinction CenterSM for bladder cancer.

We offer counseling, diagnosis and exceptional care to patients with bladder cancer and their families. Blue Distinction Centers provide comprehensive cancer care, delivered by multidisciplinary teams with special training and clinical expertise in treating certain types of cancer. The centers were selected in collaboration with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), leading clinicians and professional organizations.

What is bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer occurs when there are abnormal, cancerous cells growing in the bladder. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about 74,000 cases of bladder will be diagnosed in the US in 2015.

Bladder cancer affects men four times more often than women, and it occurs in Caucasians twice as often as in African-Americans. The risk of bladder cancer increases with age - over 70 percent of people who are diagnosed with it are older than 65.

The bladder is a triangle-shaped, hollow organ located in the lower abdomen. It is held in place by ligaments that are attached to other organs and the pelvic bones. The bladder's walls relax and expand to store urine, and contract and flatten to empty urine through the urethra. The typical healthy adult bladder can store up to two cups of urine for two to five hours.

What are the different types of bladder cancer?

There are several types of bladder cancers, including the following:

  • transitional cell (urothelial) carcinoma
    Transitional cell carcinoma is cancer that begins in the cells lining the bladder. Transitional cells also line the other parts of the urinary tract including the kidneys, ureters, and urethra. Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common kind of bladder cancer, occurring in about 90 percent of cases.
  • squamous cell carcinoma
    Squamous cell carcinoma is cancer that begins in squamous cells - thin, flat cells found in the tissue that form the surface of the skin, the lining of the hollow organs of the body, and the passages of the respiratory and digestive tracts. About 4 percent of bladder cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
  • adenocarcinoma
    Adenocarcinoma is cancer that begins in the cells of glandular structures lining certain organs in the body and then spreads to the bladder. Common primary sites for adenocarcinomas include the lung, pancreas, breast, prostate, stomach, liver, and colon. Adenocarcinomas account for only about 2 percent of bladder cancers.