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Bladder and Other Urothelial Cancers Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Description of the Evidence

Incidence and Mortality

Bladder cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed malignancy in men in the United States. It is estimated that 72,570 new cases of bladder cancer are expected to occur in the United States in 2013.[1]

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Understanding Bladder Cancer -- Diagnosis and Treatment

To diagnose bladder cancer, your doctor completes a thorough medical history and examination. You will then be referred to a urologist, a physician who has special training in managing diseases of the bladder. The first test the urologist may perform is an intravenous pyelogram (IVP), followed by a cystoscopy. During a cystoscopy, the urologist will pass a cystoscope (a fiber-optic lighted tube) through the urethra in order to view the bladder. A urine sample for cytology will be obtained and a...

Read the Understanding Bladder Cancer -- Diagnosis and Treatment article > >

Bladder cancer is diagnosed almost twice as often in whites as in blacks of either sex. The incidence of bladder cancer among other ethnic and racial groups in the United States falls between that of blacks and whites. The incidence of bladder cancer increases with age.[2]

Since the 1950s, the incidence of bladder cancer has risen by approximately 50%. It is to be anticipated that, with the aging of the U.S. population, this trend will continue. There has been a decrease of approximately 33% in bladder cancer mortality during the same interval (National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program, 1973–1997). It is estimated that 15,210 Americans will die of bladder cancer in 2013.[1]

The age-adjusted mortality from bladder cancer has decreased in all races and sexes during the past 30 years.[2] These changes may reflect earlier diagnosis, better therapy, less exposure to carcinogens, or some combination of these factors.

More than 90% of cancers in the bladder are transitional cell carcinomas (TCC), also called urothelial cancer. Other important histologic types include squamous cell carcinoma SCC and adenocarcinoma. Urothelial cancer can also rarely develop in the lining of the renal pelvis, ureter, prostate, and urethra.

Risk Factors

There are no definitive studies on the prevention of bladder or other urothelial cancers. Reduction in environmental and occupational exposures would presumably reduce urothelial cancer risk. Differences in age, gender, race, and geographic distribution may reflect differences in environmental and occupational exposure to possible toxicants. Relevant exposures include chemical exposures; cigarette smoking; infection with bacteria, parasitic fungi, or viruses; and treatment with certain chemotherapeutic agents. A positive family history of bladder cancer has also been associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.[3,4]

Several populations with a variety of exposures appear to be at higher risk of developing bladder cancer. By far, the greatest known environmental risk factor in the general population is tobacco, especially cigarette smoking;[3] individuals who smoke have a fourfold to sevenfold increased risk of developing bladder cancer than individuals who have never smoked.[5,6,7] Risk is reduced with cessation of smoking, but a relatively small decrease in incidence is seen for the first 5 to 7 years after cessation. Even after 10 years, the risk of an individual developing bladder cancer is still almost twice that of an individual who has never smoked.

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