April 2011


Bladder cancer

Current management

Volume 40, No.4, April 2011 Pages 209-213

Ranjan Arianayagam

Mohan Arianayagam

Prem Rashid


Over 2000 cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in Australia in 2005. Bladder cancer is a relatively common disease with high morbidity if left untreated. Bladder cancer is categorised as either ‘nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer’ or ‘muscle invasive bladder cancer’. Treatment varies significantly for each type.


This article provides an update on the presentation of bladder cancer, its risk factors, investigations and treatment, and discusses the role of chemotherapy as a neoadjuvant and adjuvant treatment.


Bladder cancer most commonly presents with microscopic or macroscopic haematuria. Evaluation is required of all patients with macroscopic haematuria, patients with persistent microscopic haematuria, and at risk patients with a single episode of microscopic haematuria. Evaluation consists of imaging, urine cytology and cystoscopy. Nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer patients can undergo tumour resection with adjuvant intravesical treatments, while muscle invasive bladder cancer patients are optimally treated with cystectomy and urinary diversion.

Two thousand and twelve cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in Australia in 2005.1 Bladder cancer is categorised as either nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer or muscle invasive bladder cancer.2 Inaccurate diagnosis can compromise survival as the two categories require very different management strategies. This article aims to provide a succinct update on the presentation, investigation and treatment of this common disease.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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