• By Laurel Kelly

Consumer Health: Bladder cancer awareness

May 13, 2021
an older man sitting outside with a cup of coffee in his hands and a hat on his head

May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers. Nearly 84,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2021, according to the American Cancer Society. Bladder cancer occurs in men more frequently than in women, and the risk increases with age, especially after 55. But bladder cancer can occur at any age.

Most bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage — when the cancer is highly treatable. But even early-stage bladder cancers can recur after successful treatment. For this reason, people with bladder cancer typically need follow-up tests for years after treatment to look for bladder cancer that recurs.

Bladder cancer signs and symptoms can include:

  • Blood in the urine, which can cause urine to appear bright red or brown, though sometimes the urine appears normal and blood is detected on a lab test.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Painful urination.
  • Back pain.

If you've been diagnosed with bladder cancer, your treatment will be based on the type, grade and stage of the cancer, as well as your overall health and preferences. Treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy or targeted drug therapy.