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HomescienceBladder cancer exceeds 19 thousand deaths in 4 years

Bladder cancer exceeds 19 thousand deaths in 4 years

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The most common cancer among men, bladder tumors killed 800,000 people worldwide and more than 19,000 in Brazil between 2019 and 2022.

Data from the Ministry of Health Information System (SIH/SUS) indicate more than 110,000 cases of malignant bladder tumors since 2019. As with other types of cancer, smoking is the main risk factor for bladder tumors.

July is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. The Brazilian Society of Urology (SBU) takes this date to warn about the importance of early detection of this type of tumor, when the chances of recovery are greater. In the Social mediaPosts, videos and live streams with experts to inform the general public.


The National Cancer Institute (INCA) estimates that 11,370 new cases of bladder cancer are expected to be registered this year.

So men 7870 and women 3500.

Therefore, this corresponds to an estimated risk of 7.45 new cases per 100,000 men and 3.14 per 100,000 women. According to the INCA, this is the seventh most common cancer in men (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). It therefore represents more than 3% of cancer cases in men.

“The main risk factor for bladder cancer is smoking, which accounts for more than 50% of cases. Therefore, by getting rid of this habit, we can significantly reduce the chances of developing this tumor. Another key point in prevention is to follow healthy habits, such as maintaining a balanced diet, drinking enough water and exercising.

Driver Edgar Azevedo dos Santos, 51, discovered the disease after suffering from lower back pain in 2017. He underwent an ultrasound scan that found nodules. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy. “I never imagined I would have cancer. Since then, I have had regular check-ups.”

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“We have noticed that many people are not aware of bladder cancer, how it occurs and what the main villains are. Most already know that smoking can lead to lung cancer, for example. But many do not realise that it is also the main cause of bladder cancer.


“Furthermore, although it often causes urinary bleeding, it is usually intermittent at first and painless, so it is common for people to not pay attention to it and delay going to the doctor, which can lead to the condition getting worse,” explains SBU Communications Manager and Awareness Campaign Coordinator Karin Jaeger Anzulch.

Although they are generally silent in the early stages, bladder tumors can cause blood in the urine, increased frequency of urination, burning when urinating, urgency to urinate, and weak urinary stream.

“Visible blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer and is usually present in 80% of patients. Other common symptoms are increased urinary frequency, urinary urgency, and pain when urinating, which may be related to the presence of cancer. On site.

“Bladder cancer can also be asymptomatic and be detected through ultrasound, CT or MRI imaging tests,” explains Mauricio Diener Cordero, coordinator of the SBU Department of Urological Oncology.

Types of cancer

Bladder cancer can be classified according to the cell that has changed. The most common types are transitional cell (or urothelial) cancer, which accounts for the majority of cases and begins in the inner layer of the bladder. Similarly, squamous cell (or squamous cell) cancer, which affects the thin, flat cells of the bladder, occurs after injury or prolonged inflammation. Adenocarcinoma, which is rare, begins in the glandular (secretory) cells after injury or prolonged irritation.

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Bladder cancer is considered superficial when it is confined to the tissue lining the bladder, and infiltrative when it penetrates the muscular wall, and may affect nearby organs or lymph nodes.

Risk factors

Smoking (also secondhand smoke) is the main risk factor for bladder cancer. However, there are other threats such as: exposure to chemicals; some medications and supplements; gender and race (white men are more likely to get the disease); advanced age; family history.

“In addition to smoking, contact with chemicals such as those found in pesticides, dyes used in industry, diesel fumes or other substances can also lead to this disease. Drugs such as pioglitazone, used to control diabetes, have been associated with the development of bladder cancer. “However, the risk is relatively low, and the main point of concern should be for patients who have already had bladder cancer and are using this drug,” explains Fernando Corques, head of the bladder cancer specialty at the State Security Unit.

Diagnosis and treatment

Bladder cancer can be diagnosed through urine tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasound, CT scan, and cystoscopy (an internal examination of the bladder using a cystoscope, an instrument with a camera that is inserted through the urethra). During cystoscopy, if the specialist identifies any changes, material may be removed for a biopsy.

Treatment for bladder cancer varies depending on the stage of the disease and may consist of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Types of surgery include: Transurethral resection – removal of the tumor through the urethra; Partial cystectomy – removal of part of the bladder; Radical cystectomy – complete removal of the bladder, with construction of a new organ to store urine.

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In cases of primary lesions, after removal of the tumor, BCG vaccine or certain chemotherapy drugs may be given into the bladder to prevent recurrence of the disease.

“Some of the new developments in this field include new drugs such as immunotherapy, targeted therapies and antibody therapies linked to drugs that are already used in practice and benefit many patients. As for surgery, robotic platforms help a lot in cases where it is necessary to remove the bladder and perform some kind of reconstruction,” highlights Fernando Corques.

death rate

From 2019 to 2022, the Mortality Information System recorded 19,160 deaths from malignant bladder tumors. Of these, 12,956 (67.6%) were males and 6,204 (32.3%) were females.

For the director of the SBU Higher School of Urology, Rony de Carvalho Fernandes, to detect bladder cancer and develop effective public policies to reduce incidence and mortality rates, it is necessary to consider several strategies.

Therefore, awareness and education campaigns such as those promoted by the State Security Service should be initiated. In addition to identifying the groups at risk, and ensuring that everyone has access to health services that provide appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Therefore, with the establishment of specialized centers to ensure high levels of care and better outcomes for patients.

“Implementing these measures requires collaboration between health professionals, governments, research institutions, NGOs and society itself to effectively address this major challenge, which is to reduce mortality rates from bladder cancer,” says Fernandez.

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