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Tunnell Cancer Center Annual Report 2009-2010

Tunnell Cancer Center Annual Report 2009-2010

Photo of Dr. Richard Paul

Bladder Cancer

By Richard Paul, M.D., Urologist

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in men and the eighth most common type in women in the United States. Nearly 90 percent of people with this cancer are over the age of 55.

Bladder cancers typically form in tissues of the bladder. Because the tissues that line the bladder contain the same cells that line the entire urinary tract, bladder cancer can be diagnosed throughout the tract.


The highest incidence of bladder cancers occurs in industrialized countries. The bladder, which stores the urine that carries the waste from the body, can be exposed to relatively toxic substances. Exposure to carcinogens is likely the cause of these cancers; and byproducts of cigarette smoking are the most notorious of these carcinogens. Smokers have twice the risk of developing bladder cancer. Other risks include:

Increasing age Chemical exposure: Exposure to certain chemicals, including arsenic and chemicals used in the manufacture of dyes, rubber, leather, textiles, and paint products Chronic bladder inflammation Family history

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Increased frequency or urgency and irritation during urination are other possible symptoms.


Currently, there is no screening method recommended for individuals at normal risk. Microscopic examination of cells are used to screen people at high risk due to occupational exposure.


Surgical intervention is the treatment of choice in a majority of cases, depending upon the state at presentation. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are reserved as an adjuvant to surgery if the patient has more advanced disease or is not a medical candidate for surgery.

Beebe Medical Center

Bladder cancer is the fourth-leading cancer in patients treated at Beebe Medical Center, where treatment modalities parallel the national average. At Beebe, patients with Stage I cancer had a five-year survival of 62.3 percent, a 27.5 percent with Stage II, a 22.2 percent with Stage III, and a 10 percent with Stage IV. These rates are in alignment with the state of Delaware, but slightly inferior to the national average, where patients are diagnosed at a younger age. At Beebe, the average age is between 70 to 84, and nationwide the average age is between 60 to 70.

Graph for Bladder Cancer 5-Year Survival 1999–2005Data Source: Beebe Medical Center, Diagnosed 1999–2005 Delaware State Cancer Registry, Diagnosed 1999–2005 National #'s NCDB, Commission on Cancer, ACoS, Diagnosed 1998–2002 Data reported from all states, 1,400 facilities