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Bladder Cancer

What is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer means that certain cells in the bladder have changed in ways that aren't normal. These tumors are classified by the way they grow:

  • Papillary tumors look like warts and are attached to a stalk.
  • Nonpapillary (sessile) tumors are flat. They are much less common. But they are more invasive and have a worse outcome.
  • Carcinoma in situ (CIS) is a cancerous patch of cells that is only in the inner layer of the bladder lining and has not spread to deeper tissue. The patch may look almost normal or may look inflamed.

The exact cause of bladder cancer is not known. But several things may make you more likely to develop it:

  • Cigarette smoking. Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing bladder cancer.
  • Chemical exposure at work. These chemicals are called carcinogens. Dye workers, rubber workers, aluminum workers, leather workers, truck drivers, and pesticide applicators are at the highest risk.
  • Chemotherapy: The chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide may increase the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Radiation treatment: Women who had radiation therapy to treat cervical cancer have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
  • Bladder infection: A long-term (chronic) bladder infection or irritation may lead to a certain type of bladder cancer.

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