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Prostate and Urological Health

Bladder Cancer Is Much More Common Than You Think

bladder cancer-patients-caregivers-diagnosis
bladder cancer-patients-caregivers-diagnosis

While bladder cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States, far too many people learn what the disease is at the time of diagnosis.

Andrea Maddox-Smith

CEO, Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network

The American Cancer Society projects that more than 81,000 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in the United States in 2022, and more than 17,000 people will not survive their disease.


When caught in its early stages, bladder cancer is highly treatable, and the five-year survival rate for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer is more than 77%. That’s good news, but the bad news is that the disease often comes back. Depending on the type that someone has, its recurrence rate is between 50-80%. This makes it among the most expensive cancers to treat over a patient’s lifetime.

Some important things to consider:

  1. Blood in your urine is never normal. The most common clinical sign of bladder cancer is painless gross hematuria, blood in the urine that can easily be seen. If you see blood in your urine, see your doctor — preferably a urologist — as soon as you can.
  2. If you smoke, please stop. While the causes are not fully understood, what doctors do know is that about 50% of all cases can be directly attributed to cigarette smoking. A current smoker has a four times greater risk of being diagnosed than someone who never smoked. 
  3. Certain occupational or environmental exposures to chemicals, smoke, or fumes is also believed to increase the risk of bladder cancer. If you are a first responder or member of our military, you may have increased risk of developing the disease, so do not ignore warning signs like blood in your urine or urgency and frequency related to emptying your bladder.

Our organization, the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, is a community of patients, caregivers, survivors, advocates, and medical and research professionals united in support of people impacted by bladder cancer. We give patients and caregivers the resources and support they need to cope with the disease. Please visit for more information.

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