Urothelial Cancer of the Bladder and Upper Tracts

Urothelial Tumors at a Glance

What is it?

Tumors involving the lining of the urinary system

Bladder far more common than upper tract or urethra.

How common?

About 5,000 new cases in Canada per year.

#4 cancer in men

#8 cancer in women


Anyone, but more commonly

  • Older (>50)
  • Male
  • Caucasian
  • Smokers

Blood in the urine (Hematuria) which can be visible or microscopic is the most common presenting sign. ANY visible blood, even a single episode or while using anticoagulants, may be a sign of bladder cancer.

Cystoscopy is the number one test.

Imaging as required for the upper tracts.

Urine and blood tests to check kidney function.

Resection for pathologic confirmation.


How Serious?

Wide variation. 3 general categories

  1. Superficial: often times manageable with minor surgery, sometimes medications placed in the bladder. Some tumors are more likely to progress to very serious, muscle invasive disease. Require strict surveillance, often times lifelong.
  2. Muscle invasive but localized: serious, but can be curable with removal of the bladder or a combination of chemotherapy and radiation
  3. Systemic/metastatic: tumors which have spread beyond the bladder into the lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body are usually lethal and incurable.


Urothelial Carcinoma: Background & Diagnosis


Urothelial Carcinoma: TREATMENT OVERVIEW


The treatment of bladder cancer is individualized based on the risk associated with the tumor with further consideration of the patient's circumstances. Bladder cancers are not all the same - some are associated with much more aggressive behavior than others. The following are general guidelines and your treatment may differ based on your circumstances.



Note that we offer the full spectrum of bladder cancer surgery and treatments:


On the Web

American Cancer Society Information on Bladder Cancer

Superficial (Non-Muscle Invasive) Bladder Cancer

Radical Cystectomy for Muslce-invasive Bladder Cancer

General Information on Cancer

UNDERSTANDING CANCER - Metrovan Urology info on the principles of diagnosis, staging, prognosis and more.

American Cancer Society

BC Cancer Agency: Good general website from the British Columbia Cancer Agency. Has contact information on locations.

National Cancer Institute: Excellent source of understandable and mainly unbiased information. Several very good brochures on every stage of prostate cancer.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network: peer-reviewed expert content/prostate cancer guidance on evidence-based cancer diagnosis and management. Best for Prostate and Kidney Cancer. The most in-depth information is located in the physician section and requires registration.

General Urology Websites

Canadian Urological Association  Extenstive library of downloadable pamphlets on a wide range of urological conditions

Cleveland Clinic

Mayo Clinic

Medline Plus Produced by the US National Institutes of Health with information on virtually every health topic and extensive list of links

UrologyHealth.org The patient information site of the American Urological Association.