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Bladder Cancer Diagnosis and Causes

Bladder Cancer:

Bladder cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in the tissues of your bladder.  These cells can be cancerous transitional cells, or squamous cells or glandular cells which grow in the bladder after long-term irritation.  These cells give rise to three different types of bladder cancer, called transitional cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, out of which transitional cell carcinoma is the most common.

Bladder Cancer Diagnosis

Bladder Cancer Diagnosis:

There are many ways of diagnosing bladder cancer.  These include urinalysis (an analysis of a urine sample), internal examination (when a doctor feels for potentially cancerous lumps using gloved fingers), cystoscopy (where a small camera is inserted into the urethra to see the bladder), and biopsy (where a small sample of bladder tissue is taken using a small tool inserted into the urethra).  CT scans, x-rays, and intravenous pyelograms (IVP) are also used to get images of the bladder, to help diagnose bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer is often diagnosed by doctors in terms of stages.  There are stages zero through to four, from least severe to most severe.  Stage zero bladder cancer is when the cancer hasn’t spread past the inner bladder lining. Stage one cancer is when the cancer has spread past the lining of the bladder but has not yet spread to the layer of muscle.  When the cancer has spread to the layer of muscle in the bladder it is called stage two cancer.  Stage three cancer is when the cancer has spread to the surrounding tissues of the bladder.  Stage four cancer is when the neighbouring areas of the body also become affected by the cancer.

Bladder Cancer Causes:

It is currently unknown what the exact causes of bladder cancer are.  However, factors like smoking, exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, eating a high-fat diet and low fluid consumption are all factors which increase the risk of developing bladder cancer.  Other factors which also increase your risk of bladder cancer include being over 55 years old, being male, having a family history of bladder cancer and having previously taken chemotherapy drugs like Cytoxan, or radiation treatment for the pelvic area.  While some of these factors (like age and family medical history) aren’t under our control, lifestyle factors such as not smoking, and drinking plenty of water are within our control, and can reduce the chances of getting bladder cancer.

Bladder Cancer Diagnosis

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

While Western Medicine views the organs such as the bladder as separate to the rest of the organs and the whole body, Chinese Medicine sees all the organs in the body as interconnected.  Disease occurs when there is an imbalance or weakness in an organ, causing the functions of the body to become disrupted.  Chinese Medicine aims to treat diseases by bringing the affected organ back into balance with the other organs, so that the body can start functioning in a healthy way by itself.  For example, if the bladder is out of balance, other organs like the kidneys may also be affected, and bodily functions like urination, brain function and bone strength may be compromised.  By using traditional herbal medicine and techniques like acupuncture, Chinese Medicine practitioners can encourage the organs to return to a healthy state.

Chinese Medicine can help to keep the bladder healthy and can also help with side effects from other cancer treatments.  Western Medicine usually offers surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and medications to treat cancers like bladder cancer.  These treatments can often have mild to severe side effects, including pain, nausea and vomiting, and weakened immune system.  Chinese Medicine rarely has side effects, and can effectively treat symptoms like pain, nausea and can help boost the immune system too.


Overall, bladder cancer can be diagnosed by imaging techniques like x-rays, by cystoscopies and biopsies, and by internal examinations.  While scientists aren’t yet sure what the exact causes of bladder cancer are, you can reduce your risk through lifestyle changes like not smoking, drinking enough water, and avoiding cancer-causing chemicals. Chinese Medicine can help you maintain a healthy bladder, and if you’ve already had cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, Chinese Medicine can also help you treat the side effects from that too.

See our website at for more information about cancer and Chinese Medicine.

For more information about how acupuncture can help treat cancer, see our website at

Bladder Cancer Diagnosis

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Centre of Balance Hamilton: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine (n.d.). Archive for category: Cancer. 

Mel. (n.d.). Acupuncture for Cancer. Centre of Balance Hamilton: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine.

Kivi, R. (2018, September 17). Bladder Cancer. Healthline.