The wall of the bladder is lined with two types of cells—transitional and squamous. Over 90 percent of bladder cancers begin in the transitional cells, which is called transitional cell carcinoma.

Cancer that remains in the bladder lining is called superficial bladder cancer. While it often returns after treatment, it doesn’t tend to progress beyond the bladder lining. Sometimes, though, a superficial tumor may become invasive and extend through the bladder wall into a nearby organ or into another part of the body. The good news is that most bladder cancers do not grow rapidly, can be treated without major surgery and are not life-threatening. Early detection is key for the best possible recovery.


  • Blood in the urine, with a color ranging from rusty to deep red
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination, or feeling the need to urinate without result

Note that these symptoms are not exclusive to bladder cancer, and are not a sure sign that you have the disease. See your doctor regardless.

Risk Factors

    • Age: Bladder cancer occurs mainly in older people. About 9 out of 10 people with this cancer are over the age of 55. The average age at the time of diagnosis is 73.
    • Gender: Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women.
    • Race: Whites are more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer than African Americans or Hispanics.