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Bladder Cancer Specialist

Urological Associates

Urologists located in Charlottesville, VA

Did you know that smoking causes about half of all bladder cancers in men and women? The good news, however, is that roughly three-quarters of all patients with bladder cancer are diagnosed at an early stage while it’s still easier to treat. The doctors at Urological Associates have extensive experience diagnosing bladder cancer and providing optimal treatment based on the stage of the cancer. If you notice blood in your urine, call the office in Charlottesville, Virginia, or schedule an appointment online.

Bladder Cancer Q & A

What should I know about bladder cancer?

The most common type of bladder cancer, called urothelial carcinoma, begins when cells that line the inside of the bladder begin to grow uncontrollably, forming a cancerous tumor.

When bladder cancer goes untreated, it can spread into the muscle layer of the wall (muscle-invasive bladder cancer) and eventually through the wall to your lymph nodes and other parts of your body.

Your chance of developing bladder cancer increases if you have any of these risk factors:

  • Smokers are at least three times more likely to get bladder cancer compared to nonsmokers.
  • Workplace exposure to certain chemicals
  • Arsenic in drinking water
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Taking a diabetes medication called pioglitazone
  • Taking a dietary supplement called aristolochic acid

You’re also more susceptible to bladder cancer if you have a family history of the disease.

What symptoms develop due to bladder cancer?

Unlike many cancers that don’t cause symptoms until later stages, it’s easier to catch bladder cancer at an early stage because it causes urinary tract symptoms such as:


Hematuria (blood in your urine) is often the first sign of bladder cancer. Depending on the amount of blood in your urine, it may appear pink, orange, brownish, and less often, dark red. You may notice blood one day, then it could be gone the next and your urine may stay clear for weeks or months. But if you have cancer, the blood will reappear.

Changes in bladder habits

Bladder cancer may cause:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Weak urine stream
  • Urinating many times during the night
  • Feeling like you need to go when your bladder isn’t full

Blood in your urine and changes in urination are symptoms that commonly occur due to problems other than cancer, like a urinary tract infection, an overactive bladder, or an enlarged prostate. But it’s essential to rule out cancer by having your symptoms evaluated by your doctor at Urological Associates.

What symptoms develop as bladder cancer progresses?

When bladder cancer is in an early stage, it seldom causes pain. As the tumor grows and spreads, you’ll begin to experience lower back pain and bone pain. Other symptoms of advanced cancer include loss of appetite, swelling in your feet, and fatigue.

How is bladder cancer treated?

Your treatment depends on the stage of your bladder cancer, but your options include:

  • Surgery
  • Intravesical therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

If you have concerns about bladder cancer, call Urological Associates or book an appointment online.