Doctor speaking to patient.

Let’s Go: Test Your Knowledge of Bladder Cancer Facts

How much do you know about bladder cancer? Now is the perfect time to learn about the frequency of this disease, risk factors, and windows of opportunity for treatment. Take a minute to test your knowledge on cancer that affects this busy storage unit of the urinary tract. Knowledge is always the best defense, so that early detection and treatment are top priority. 

Give these true-or-false statements a go!

number 1 Bladder cancer is considered a rare cancer.

FALSE: “Most people don’t realize just how common bladder cancer is,” according to Jonathan Wright, MD, MS, FACS, Urologic Oncologist and American Society of Clinical Oncology member. “It’s the sixth most common cancer overall,” he said in Bladder Cancer--What to Know If You’ve Just Been Diagnosed.1  

number 2 There are no outward symptoms of bladder cancer.

FALSE: Check the bowl. “The most common way [bladder cancer] presents is having blood in the urine,” according to Dr. Wright. “If you see blood in your urine, you need to tell your doctor.”1

number 3 Men are at a higher risk of developing bladder cancer than women.

TRUE: Men are four times more likely than women to develop bladder cancer. This year an estimated 61,700 men and 19,480 women will be diagnosed with bladder cancer.2

number 4 Bladder cancer risk factors can include occupational exposure.

TRUE: What do you do? Occupational risks for bladder cancer include individuals who work in aluminum production, the rubber industry, the leather industry, those who work with 4-aminobiphenyl, and benzidine, according to this U.S. Health and Human Services fact sheet.

5 There is only one type of bladder cancer.

FALSE: There are three main types of bladder cancer. Urothelial carcinoma is the most common type of cancer. The other two less common types are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Bladder cancer is also characterized as non-muscle invasive or muscle invasive—this refers to whether the cancer has grown into the bladder wall.4

6 Later stage bladder cancers are not treatable.

FALSE: Stage is a way of describing where the cancer is located, if and where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body.4 “It’s important for patients and their families to realize that no matter what stage, we have treatment options for the patient,” according to Dr. Wright.1

In very early stages, treatment may involve removal of the tumor using a small telescope. As a follow-up, “We’ll often just keep watching and doing looks into the bladder to monitor for any recurrence,” Dr. Wright explains. A slightly elevated stage of cancer may involve a topical treatment and monitoring, not unlike what is done for skin cancer that is continually monitored, he added.1

For more invasive bladder cancers, treatment options may include chemotherapy given in veins, radiation into the bladder, or entire removal of bladder, bladder reconstruction, and using intestines to help drain urine.

For cancer that has spread beyond the bladder, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapies may be options. The American Society of Clinical Oncology fact sheet for patients provides an overview of treatments and encourages patients with later stage cancers to talk to their doctor about enrolling in a clinical trial to take advantage of therapies otherwise unavailable and to contribute to research efforts.

Genetics and genomics are “hot area[s] of research” in understanding bladder cancers, says Dr. Wright. He adds that in the last 5 years, funding has increased toward the development of new targeted therapies and ways to detect cancer sooner, such as through urine and blood.1 In the meantime, it is important to keep the most common symptom in mind: check the bowl. 

For more information on bladder cancer treatment and questions you can ask your healthcare team, see ASCO answers.


1. Bladder Cancer--What to Know If You’ve Just Been Diagnosed. Updated January 23, 2022. Accessed April 20, 2022. 
2. Key Statistics for Bladder Cancer. Accessed April 27, 2022.
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Chemicals, Cancer, and You. Accessed April 27, 2022.
4. ASCO. ASCO Answers: Bladder Cancer. Accessed April 27, 2022.


Suggested Blog Posts