Home > Patient Educational Videos > Bladder Cancer - What is Bladder Cancer and Treatment of Stage 1-3 Bladder Cancer

What is Bladder Cancer:

Patients with bladder cancer classically present with painless blood in their urine, although irritative voiding symptoms such as frequency (urinating too frequently), urgency (always have the feeling of wanting to urinate), dysuria (painful urination) can be the initial manifestation. The diagnosis is often delayed due to the similarity of these symptoms to those of benign disorders such as urinary tract infection, kidney stones, prostate infection, and delays can lead to a worsened prognosis due to more advanced stage at diagnosis. Therefore, it is imperative to be referred to a urologist early when one is diagnosed with either microscopic blood in the urine (on routine urine analysis) or gross visible blood in urine.

However, 9 to 18 percent of apparently normal individuals have some hematuria, and hematuria is due to benign causes in most patients. The number of red blood cells in the urine is not predictive of the probability of cancer.

Cystoscopy is the gold standard for the initial diagnosis and staging of bladder cancer. This procedure is done in the office with a flexible cystoscope and only has minimal risks such as bleeding and infection. Risk of infection can be reduced by using sterile technique and peri-procedural antibiotics.

The cystoscope is then inserted into the bladder, and urine is obtained for cytology. The bladder is inspected visually, and a detailed description of the size, number, appearance, location, and growth pattern (papillary or solid) of all lesions is recorded. This information serves as a reference for subsequent cystoscopic examinations. The status of the uninvolved mucosa is also noted.

In general, low-grade, non-invasive tumors are papillary with a narrow stalk. High-grade, invasive tumors frequently can appear sessile, solid, or nodular. Carcinoma in situ (CIS) is a high-grade, non-invasive tumor, which can appear as a flat velvety lesion and can arise in patches. CIS sometimes involve large parts of the urothelial lining. The size, stalk and configuration of the cancer can be predictive of muscle invasion.

Visible tumors are either biopsied or resected transurethrally to determine the histology and depth of invasion into the submucosa and muscle layers of the bladder. For patients undergoing repeat diagnostic cystoscopy after a prior transurethral resection of bladder tumors (TURBT), repeat biopsy should be obtained from areas that were previously resected. Even if these areas appear uninvolved, muscle-invasive disease will be detected in about one-third of cases.

Here, Dr. Tony Talebi discusses the general concepts of what is bladder cancer as well as treatment of stage 1 to 3 bladder cancer with world renowned urologist Dr. Mark Soloway, professor of urology at the University of Miami.    The discussion includes Bladder cancer prognosis, what causes bladder cancer, signs of bladder cancer, bladder cancer symptoms, bladder cancer, bladder cancer stage 4, treatment of bladder cancer, bladder cancer association, stage four bladder cancer, small cell bladder cancer, symtoms of bladder cancer, causes of bladder cancer, bladder cancer chemotherapy, what is bladder cancer, bladder cancers, bladder cancer information, bladder cancer prevention, stage 4 bladder cancer, information about bladder cancer, stage iv bladder cancer, bladder cancer signs, bladder cancer symptom, is bladder cancer curable, stage 3b bladder cancer, lungs cancer symptoms, survival rates for bladder cancer, symptoms of bladder cancer, bladder cancer survivors, bladder cancer symptons, bladder cancer survival, treatments of bladder cancer, symptons of bladder cancer, bladder cancer statistics, non small cell bladder cancer, chemo for bladder cancer, bladder cancer survival rate, large cell bladder cancer, effects of bladder cancer, bladder cancer screening, bladder cancer diagnosis, bladder cancer society, bladder cancer clinical trials, bladder cancer metastasis, survival rate bladder cancer, symptom of bladder cancer, info on bladder cancer, new treatments for bladder cancer, how common is bladder cancer.

Dr. Soloway credentials:

Professor and Chairman Emeritus of Urology

Board Certifications

American Board of Urology

Practice Locations

University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center


Northwestern University
Chicago, IL

Case Western Reserve Medical School
Cleveland, OH

Case Western Reserve Medical School
Cleveland, OH

National Cancer Institute/National Institute of Health
Bethesda, MD