Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers, affecting approximately 80,000 adults in the United States each year.1 Incidence is about four times higher in men than in women and almost two times higher in white men than in Black men. Smoking is the most well-established risk factor for bladder cancer, accounting for about half of all the cases in the United States.

Bladder cancer usually affects older adults, but it can happen at any age. Blood in the urine (hematuria) is the most common first sign of bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer can sometimes cause changes in urination, such as:

  • Having to urinate more often than usual
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Feeling as if you need to urinate right away, even when your bladder isn’t full
  • Having trouble urinating or having a weak urine stream
  • Having to get up to urinate many times during the night

Many other benign conditions, such as urinary tract infection (UTI), bladder stones, an overactive bladder or an enlarged prostate, can cause similar symptoms. This is why it is important to see your healthcare provider to get a diagnosis and start early treatment if cancer is found.

GenPath offers testing that includes urine cytology, which looks for abnormal cells in your urine. It is used with other tests and procedures to aid in the diagnosis of urinary tract cancers, most often bladder cancer. If you have questions about whether you should be tested for bladder cancer or any other bladder issue, speak to your healthcare provider for more information.


  1. American Cancer Society. Accessed May 22, 2019.