While less common in women, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men. About 9 in 10 individuals diagnosed with bladder cancer are over 55, and the disease’s average age of diagnosis is 73. The most common type of bladder cancer is known as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), and makes up about 95% of all cases of the disease. Transitional cell carcinomas find their origin in the urothelial cells that make up the bladder’s inner lining.
The bladder is found in our lower pelvic cavity and stores urine until it’s ready for excretion via the urethra. In women, the urethra is about 1.5 inches long, while it’s about 8 inches long in men. The bladder is about the size and shape of a pear when it’s empty; we feel the familiar urge to use the restroom when our bladder is only approximately halfway full. They can, however, hold about a pint of urine total. The bladder itself is made up of three layers of flexible, muscular walls that contract when we urinate. These muscular walls expand as the bladder fills up with urine.
So what are some signs of bladder cancer that you should look out for? While bladder cancer may be asymptomatic, Cancer.net lists a variety of possible signs of the disease:
- Experiencing burning or other painful sensations while urinating
- The presence of blood or blood clots in the urine
- Lower back pain, on only one side of the body
- Frequent urination
- Feeling the urge to urinate, but being unable to pass urine
- Feeling the urge to urinate multiple times throughout the night
It’s important to note that many of these signs could also be indicative of other, non-cancerous conditions as well.
An Ezra scan could catch bladder cancer, as well as precancerous conditions such as polyps; you can learn more about scanning packages here.