Endorsed by the European Oncology Nursing Society

Bladder cancer

Bladder cancer image

What is bladder cancer?

  • Bladder cancer is a cancer of the urinary bladder, the organ in which urine is stored before it leaves the body1
  • The cancer usually starts in the inner lining of the bladder and may spread into the other layers of the bladder, including the muscle layer1,2

Types of bladder cancer

  • Types of bladder cancer are named according to the type of cells seen in the tumour1
  • Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type1
  • It can also be classified as follows, depending on how far it has spread:1,2
    • Non-muscle invasive bladder cancer
    • Muscle-invasive bladder cancer
    • Locally advanced or metastatic bladder cancer

Who gets bladder cancer?

  • Bladder cancer mostly affects older people; more than 50% of cases are diagnosed in people aged over 75 years2
  • Bladder cancer is more common in males than in females2
  • Smokers are 3 times as likely to get bladder cancer as non-smokers3
  • It is the 9th most common cancer worldwide4
  • 430,000 new cases were diagnosed worldwide in 20124

Screening, detection, and diagnosis

  • The first test used to diagnose bladder cancer is cytoscopy5
  • A CT scan, MRI, or intravenous urogram might be used to get a more detailed picture5

If the cystoscopy shows abnormalities, a biopsy will be taken during a procedure called a transurethral resection of bladder tumour5


Patient guidelines

A patient guideline is a document containing information for patients and their families about their disease and the treatment options available to them

Click here to see the European patient guideline on your condition6

Local support groups

Contacting a support group may help you during diagnosis and treatment and afterwards


Click here for information on the incidence of bladder cancer in Europe7



  1. American Cancer Society. What is bladder cancer? Accessed November 2015.
  2. NHS Choices. Bladder cancer. Accessed November 2015.
  3. American Cancer Society. Bladder cancer risk factors. Accessed November 2015.
  4. World Cancer Research Fund International. Bladder cancer statistics. Accessed November 2015.
  5. NHS Choices. Diagnosing bladder cancer. Accessed November 2015.
  6. European Society for Medical Oncology. Bladder Cancer: A Guide for Patients. Accessed November 2015.
  7. World Health Organisation. Estimated incidence, mortality & prevalence in men, 2012. Accessed November 2015.