The bladder is a hollow, muscular, balloon like organ. It is in your lower pelvis and connected to your kidneys by two tubes called ureters. Urine passes down these tubes and is collected and stored in the bladder, before being passed out of the bladder through a tube like structure called the urethra
Bladder cancer is where a growth of abnormal tissue, known as a tumour, develops in the bladder lining. In some cases, the tumour spreads into the surrounding areas.
Most cancers in the bladder start in the lining and are called transitional cell bladder cancers (TCC). If only the inner lining of the bladder is affected by the cancer, it is known as a non-muscle invasive or superficial bladder cancer. If it has spread into the muscle wall of the bladder, it is called a muscle-invasive bladder cancer.
Other, rarer, types of bladder cancer are squamous cell cancer and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell cancer starts from one of the types of cells in the bladder lining. Adenocarcinoma starts from glandular cells which produce mucus.
Some bladder cancers form shrub like outgrowths on the inside lining of the bladder. These are called papillary cancers. They have a short stem attached to the lining of the bladder. Sometimes they go on to spread into the wall of the bladder.
Bladder cancer occurs most commonly in people between 50 and 70 years of age. It is the fourth most common cancer in men and eighth most common in women in the UK. You may also hear your cancer referred to as a neoplasm, tumour, growth or polyp.
If you are confused about any information please feel free to ask your clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or doctor in urology to explain things to you.