Women and Bladder Cancer: What You Need to Know

Women and Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a disease that is most commonly diagnosed in older white males. However, compared to men, women who are diagnosed with bladder cancer have a worse prognosis and higher mortality rates. There are 19,300 women diagnosed with bladder cancer each year in the United States. When bladder cancer is diagnosed at an earlier stage, 5-year survival of the disease dramatically increases.  It is important for women to be aware of the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer in order to be diagnosed earlier, and have an increased chance of survival.

While one out of every four bladder cancer cases occur in women, they have a worse prognosis at every stage of the disease.  This could be because one of the most common signs of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Since  early signs like that may be ignored or believed to be related to other women’s health issues, women have a higher chance of being told they have an advanced stage of bladder cancer than men when they’re finally diagnosed.

Primary care physicians are less likely to refer women for a urologic evaluation of new or first recurrent episodes of blood in the urine than to refer men in all patient age categories.

Fast Facts:

  • Smoking is the greatest risk factor. Smokers get bladder cancer twice as often as non-smokers.
  • Bladder cancer symptoms may be identical to those of a bladder infection and the two problems may occur together. If symptoms do not disappear after treatment with antibiotics, insist upon further evaluation to determine whether bladder cancer is present.
  • Bladder cancer has the highest recurrence rate of any form of cancer, between 50-80 percent.
Webinar: Women and Bladder Cancer

Presented by Drs. Sima Porten, University of California San Francisco and Jeannie Hoffman-Censits, Johns Hopkins University

Webinar: Understanding Women’s Sexuality and Intimacy After Bladder Cancer 

Presented by Dr. Akanksha Mehta from Emory University, Dr. Daniela Wittmann from University of Michigan, and LaShon Day from University of Michigan