In cancer of the bladder, certain harmful cells invade the bladder and destroy healthy cells, which cause the bladder not to function properly.
The bladder is a hollow organ that stores urine as it is filtered from the kidneys. The flexible bladder wall is made up of three layers, allowing the bladder to expand and contract as needed. 90% of bladder cancers are found in the epithelial lining, the innermost layer of the wall.
Bladder cancer is the fourth leading cause of new cancer cases in Canadian men, but is no longer in the top 10 most common new cancer causes among women. It is diagnosed 2 to 3 times as often in men as in women, and it is seen in Caucasians twice as often as those of African descent.
Because of early diagnosis and better treatments, the mortality rates for this disease have been falling significantly over the last 25 years.