Bladder cancer is when abnormal cells in the bladder grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. There are different types of bladder cancer. These include: urothelial carcinoma, which is the most common form of bladder cancer and starts in the urothelial cells in the bladder wall’s innermost layer,  squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.


The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (haematuria), which usually occurs suddenly and is generally not painful. Other less common symptoms include:

  • problems emptying the bladder
  • burning feeling when passing urine
  • need to pass urine often
  • blood in urine
  • lower abdominal or back pain.

Treatment options

Treatment for bladder cancer

A CT scan, bone (radioisotope) scan and chest X-ray are done to determine the extent of the cancer (its stage). The most common staging system used for bladder cancer is the TNM system, which describes the stage of the cancer from stage I to stage IV. Determining the stage of your cancer helps your doctors plan the best treatment for you.

Robotic Surgery

Some more aggressive bladder cancers may require removal of the bladder and this can be performed either robotically or by standard open surgery.

Types of treatment

Superficial bladder cancers are treated with surgery and/or immunotherapy, or sometimes chemotherapy instilled into the bladder.