Bladder cancer is the 4th most diagnosed cancer in VA.
Approximately 3,200 Veterans are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year. Bladder cancer happens when the cells in the bladder start to grow out of control. Most tumors develop on the inner layer of the bladder. As the cancer grows into deeper layers, it becomes more difficult to treat.
Since early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and recovery, VA encourages Veterans to talk to their health care provider about the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer.
Signs and symptoms
Signs of bladder cancer can be embarrassing to discuss, but it’s important to talk with your provider as soon as possible if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Blood in the urine; painful or urgent urination; inability to urinate.
- Abdominal pain; lower back pain.
- Appetite or weight loss.
Identifying bladder cancer early is important for successful treatment and recovery. Don’t wait to discuss these symptoms with your provider.
Exposure risks for Veterans: Agent Orange, PFAS and Camp LeJeune
Smoking is the most common risk factor for bladder cancer. In addition, some Veterans may be at higher risk of developing bladder cancer than the general population due to their exposure to certain chemicals during their military service.
If you have been exposed to any of the following, be aware that you may be at higher risk of developing this type of cancer:
If you’re not sure what environmental exposures you may have experienced during your time in the military, there are dedicated VA resources available to help you. Talk to your VA health care provider or contact your local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.
Choosing VA for your cancer care
VA is focused on helping Veterans with cancer live better lives. VA doctors provide or support finding the best treatment for your cancer care needs. All VA providers stand shoulder to shoulder with Veterans and support them on every step of their cancer journey.
To learn more about cancer care at VA, visit cancer.va.gov or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cancer prevention during COVID-19
While COVID-19 is an ongoing concern, VA is taking precautions at all VA medical centers to protect you from the virus. Catching cancer early is an important part of successful treatment, so don’t ignore concerning symptoms of bladder cancer out of concern for COVID-19. VA is taking every measure to protect your health.