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Bladder Cancer


What is it?

    Bladder cancer is common, deadly and the most expensive cancer to treat. It is the ninth most common cancer worldwide and affects both men and women (with a 3:1 ratio). Bladder cancer begins when cells in the inner lining of the bladder become abnormal, which causes them to grow and divide out of control.


    • Blood in the urine (haematuria) – This is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. It often occurs suddenly, but is usually not painful. There may be only a small amount of blood in the urine and it may look red or brown. For some people, the blood may come and go, or it may appear only once or twice
    • Changes in bladder habits – A burning feeling when passing urine, needing to pass urine more often or urgently, not being able to urinate when you feel the urge, and pain while urinating can also be symptoms
    • Other symptoms – Less commonly, people have pain in one side of their lower abdomen or back or pelvic pain

    Risk factors

    • smoking – smokers are up to three times more likely than non-smokers to develop bladder cancer
    • older age – most people with bladder cancer are over 60, and the risk increases with age
    • being male – men are three to four times more likely than women to develop bladder cancer
    • chemical exposure at work – chemicals called aromatic amines, benzene products and aniline dyes have been linked to bladder cancer; these chemicals are used in rubber and plastics manufacturing in the dye industry, and sometimes in the work of painters, machinists, printers, hairdressers and truck drivers

    Healthy habits

    • Not smoking
    • Limiting exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace
    • Drinking plenty of liquids, especially water


    Queensland Bladder Cancer Initiative (QBCI) is a collaborative initiative at the Translational Research Institution and PA Hospital funded by the PA Research Foundation since 2018.

    The initiative aims to tackle bladder cancer head on by improving diagnostic measures through the development of a non-invasive "liquid" urinary biomarker to address the challenge of screening in addition to long-term surveillance of treated patients who are at high risk for developing recurrent bladder cancer. QBCI are also aiming to improve patient experience and outcomes via the formation of a consumer bureau to contribute to a collaborative and relevant BICa program.

    The team are also establishing a bladder cancer registry for identification of practice patterns for BICa in Queensland, thus enabling the identification of disparities in availability and treatment practices in different settings (metropolitan, regional, or remote; public versus private systems) with the goal of improving outcomes via increased equity of care.

    Learn more about QBCI here.


    • Cancer Council Australia
    • Mayo Clinic