Bladder cancer: in women, symptoms can be confused with those of cystitis and delay the diagnosis, warn urologists: Femme Actuelle Le MAG

Bladder cancer is the 5th cancer in France and the 2nd urological cancer after prostate cancer. It corresponds to an excessive multiplication of abnormal cells in the internal wall or mucous membrane of the bladder, indicates Health Insurance.

As explained by doctors Benjamin Pradere and Yann Neuzillet, both urologists and members of the oncology committee of the French Association of Urology, during an AFU press conference which took place on April 18 , the appearance of bladder cancer is favored by certain risk factors such as tobacco consumption, which is the main one, since it is the cause of 53% of cases of bladder cancer in men and 39% among women.

The earlier bladder cancer is detected, the greater the chances of survival. However, during this press conference, urologists pointed out a delay in the diagnosis of bladder cancer in women, particularly linked to confusion in symptoms.

Bladder cancer: what are the main signs and why can they delay diagnosis in women?

When bladder cancer is treated in time, its survival rate is more than 80% over the following five years, we can read in the press release from the French Urology Association. Moreover, if the diagnosis is made later, we observe only 50% survival and 5% at the metastatic stage.

For bladder cancer to be treated as early as possible, it is therefore essential to pay attention to certain symptoms, such as the presence of blood in the urine called hematuria, which may be more or less abundant, be present throughout urination or occur intermittently. Among the symptoms of this cancer, we also findt them cystitis repeat or urination disorders.

Unfortunately, these symptoms are sometimes misinterpreted by women, as urology specialists explained during the press conference. Indeed, some women tend to equate these symptoms with those of a urinary infectionwhich delays the diagnosis of bladder cancer, because they do not consult their doctor as soon as the first symptoms appear. In addition, according to experts, women tend to urinate less than men, which means that they are in contact for longer with the toxins contained in the bladder and which must be expelled by urinating. Thus, even if men are four times more affected by bladder cancer, women who develop it are often affected by a more serious and more invasive form.

How is bladder cancer treated?

During this bladder cancer awareness month, it is essential to remember that you should get screened whenever you feel the slightest symptom. Especially since the incidence rate of this cancer has increased by 7.1% since 2020. For this, it is essential to consult your doctor who will refer you to a urologist. He will prescribe several tests for you:

  • An exam urine cytobacteriology (ECBU) whose objective is to detect the presence of germs in urine.
  • A cystoscopy or bladder fibroscopy which corresponds to an endoscopic exploration of the bladder.
  • An anatomopathology if a tumor has been detected. As the National Cancer Institute explains, “the objective of this examination is to determine all the characteristics of the tumor: its exact nature, its composition, its degree of aggressiveness”. It is only after this examination that doctors can say whether the tumor is cancerous or not and what its grade is.

Once the diagnosis is made, the urologist must perform an endoscopic resection to treat the tumor. This technique is carried out naturally using a small caliber tube, called a resector, equipped with a cutting and coagulating loop which allows the polyps to be surgically removed and then to coagulate the base of the lesions. Once the treatments are completed, the post-cancer phase begins during which follow-up begins. This is essential short and long term monitoring, regular and adapted to your situation, during which you will be required to carry out control examinations in order to eliminate any risk of recurrence.


  • Press kit – Bladder cancer: Urologists are mobilizing so that French patients can access the most innovative treatments – French Association of Urology
  • Bladder cancer: definition and contributing factors – Health Insurance
  • Pathological examination – National Cancer Institute

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