Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School


What Is It?

This type of cancer occurs in the bladder the organ that stores urine. The bladder has an inner lining surrounded by a layer of muscle. Bladder cancer begins in the inner lining of the bladder. It is usually discovered before it has spread past this lining.

Risk factors for bladder cancer include:

  • Cancer-causing substances such as tobacco smoke and chemicals in the environment

  • Exposure to certain industrial chemicals

  • Long-standing bladder stones

Bladder cancer tends to return in people who have had the disease.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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