About Bladder Cancer

Contact Information

Contact UW Carbone Cancer Center for appointment scheduling, patient referrals and more information: 

(608) 262-5223

(800) 622-8922

The UW Prostate and Genitourinary Cancer Program (UWPGCP) and the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the state's only comprehensive cancer center, take a multidisciplinary approach to treating bladder cancer.


Types of Bladder Cancer

  • Transitional cell bladder cancer: Cancers that begin in the cells lining the bladder. Comprise 90 percent of bladder cancers.

  • Squamous cell bladder cancer: A rare cancer. Cancer that begins in the thin, flat cells that form in the bladder after long-term infection or irritation. A very rare type of bladder cancer.

  • Adenocarcinoma: Develops in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation.

Furthermore, superficial bladder cancer is confined to the lining of the bladder. Invasive bladder cancer spreads to nearby organs and lymph nodes.

Bladder Cancer Symptoms

  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination in small amounts
  • Having the urge to urinate, but without result
  • Back or abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite and weight

Risk Factors

  • Smoking: Bladder cancer is four times as common in smokers, including pipe and cigar smokers, than non-smokers.

  • Work exposure: Workers in the dye, rubber, leather, textile and paint industries are at increase risk of bladder cancer, as well as people who live in communities with high levels of arsenic in the drinking water.

  • Race: Bladder cancer occurs twice as often in caucasians as in African-Americans. 

  • Gender: Males are four times more likely than females to get bladder cancer.

  • Personal or family history: People who have had bladder cancer have a higher risk of getting another tumor. People with a family history of bladder cancer are at a slightly increased risk of developing the disease.