What Causes Bladder Tumors in Men?

doctor and patient

A bladder tumor is an excessive reproduction of cells that line the bladder where liquid waste from the kidneys is stored in the body until released through urination. Most tumors are noncancerous wart-like growths called papillomas. Cancerous bladder tumors can spread through the bladder wall and into other organs via the bloodstream. Here are some important facts to know about bladder tumors:

  • Bladder tumors are nearly four times more common in men than in women.
  • Bladder tumors are most common in white men over the age of 50.
  • Less than 1 percent of cases of bladder cancer occur in people under 40 years old.
  • Bladder tumors are the second most common tumor that can occur in the reproductive and urinary tract (a prostate tumor is the most common).
  • Tumors of the lining of the bladder cause about 4 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States.
  • Bladder tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous (benign).

Causes of Bladder Tumors

Causes of bladder tumors can include exposure to carcinogenic chemicals—chemicals that are known to cause cancer and include chemicals used in the rubber and dye industries. Additional risk factors for bladder tumors include smoking tobacco, chronic urinary tract infections, and schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection common in the tropics.

Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Tumors

The signs and symptoms of bladder tumors can include the following:

  • Blood in the urine: This symptom is very common in bladder cancer.
  • A sudden feeling that you urgently need to pass urine
  • An increased frequency in the feeling that you need to pass urine, often with the passing of smaller amounts of urine
  • Back or abdominal pain
  • Appetite loss and/or weight loss

Most bladder tumors are painless.

 Signs and symptoms can and do vary depending on the type of bladder tumor, size, and spread of the disease.

Bladder Cancer

As many as 77,000 Americans are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year, and each year bladder cancer claims 16,000 lives in the U.S. 

The majority of bladder cancers begin in the urothelium or transitional epithelium, which is the innermost lining of tissue in the bladder. These cancer cells are referred to as non-invasive. Cancer cells that are invasive grow into deeper layers of the bladder wall and beyond the bladder into surrounding areas, including the lymph nodes, making cancer more difficult to treat. 

Bladder cancer cells (whether invasive or non-invasive) that have not grown into the muscle tissue of the bladder may also be referred to as non-muscle invasive or superficial.

The most common form of bladder cancer is known as urothelial carcinoma or transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Because urothelial cells are common throughout the urinary system, such as in the urethra and the tubes connecting to the kidneys, tumors may exist in these other places as well and the entire urinary tract should be checked if tumors are found.

Bladder Cancer Survival Rate

Cancer survival rates can be confusing and even dire, but they are often misinterpreted.

The five-year survival rate for those treated for bladder cancer varies depending on the stage of the cancer being treated. The following percentages represent patients who survive at least five years after diagnosis; however, these are not predictive of how long a person will live after being diagnosed. Many people survive well beyond the five-year measure used—but the numbers can help gauge how effective treatment may be.

StageSurvival Rate (%)
Stage 098 percent
Stage I88 percent
Stage II63 percent
Stage III46 percent
Stage IV15 percent
View Article Sources
  • American Cancer Society. Key statistics for bladder cancer. Cancer.org. 2017.
  • ​Harvard Health Publications. Bladder cancer: men at risk. Web. Harvard University, 2017.