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Bladder cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the UK, with around 10,000 people diagnosed each year.
It mostly occurs in men and women aged 60 and above, although bladder cancer can sometimes affect younger people too.
Bladder cancer means tumours have developed within the bladder lining. These can sometimes spread (known as metastasis) to the surrounding tissues, including the bladder muscles, or other parts of the body.
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, often without any pain. Although blood in the urine can also be caused by a number of other very common and far less serious things, such as infections or irritation, it’s very important to see your doctor and get things checked. If it is cancer, the disease is generally much easier to treat if detected early.
Other symptoms that may indicate bladder cancer include pain when urinating, urinating small amounts more frequently, chronic bladder infections, pain in the lower back around the kidneys (flank pain), and swelling in the legs. Some people may also notice a swelling in their pelvis near the bladder.
Tests and treatments
The specialist urology team at Hadley Wood Hospital can provide a range of diagnostic tests and treatments for bladder cancer. We appreciate that undergoing such investigations and waiting for results can be a difficult time – our goal is to provide a personalised rapid and efficient service in a warm, supportive environment, benefitting from the latest equipment and clinical expertise.
Procedures available include both flexible and rigid cystoscopies: These involve inserting a cystoscope (a tube with a camera at the end) into the bladder via the urethra, allowing a close examination of the bladder lining. While often performed for investigative purposes, to look for signs of abnormal tissue growth, biopsies and other treatments may be carried out at the same time. You can find more information about what these procedures entail on our flexible cystoscopy and rigid cystoscopy pages.
Our specialist urologists also perform ureteric stent insertion, a procedure to relieve blockages in the tubes between the bladder and kidneys (called the ureters), or in the kidney itself, which can develop due to bladder cancer. Treating the blockages is important as they can impair kidney function. The procedure involves inserting a small tube called a stent into the ureter, to enable urine to better flow through. This can sometimes be performed via a cystoscopy (where a tube is inserted via the urethra into the bladder), although sometimes a tube will be surgically inserted through the skin near the kidney. The exact technique used will depend on the location of the blockages and level of treatment required.