What are the most common causes of bladder cancer?

Written by: Mr Ahmed Ali
Edited by: Conor Lynch

In our latest article, highly experienced and skilled consultant urological surgeon, Mr Ahmed Ali, outlines the main warning signs of bladder cancer, reveals the cure rate, and advises when patients should seek medical attention in relation to symptoms of the cancer.

What are the most common causes of bladder cancer?

Causes are variable but mostly it is cigarette smoke-related. The chemicals in the cigarettes are oncogenic. This means that the materials in these chemicals will change the genes of the normal cell into a cancerous cell.


There are also some other causes that could lead to bladder cancer, such as exposure to rubber, plastics, or exhaust fumes on a regular basis. Then, one of the other main causes of bladder cancer is recurrent infections, especially in people with long-term catheters. Any kind of bladder irritation due to infection could also lead to bladder cancer. These would typically be the main causes.


Does it run in families?

Bladder cancer rarely runs in families, and is usually associated with people being diagnosed with it at quite an early age. I would recommend then, that if bladder cancer runs in the family, patients should seek a medical check-up to confirm or rule it out.


How can bladder cancer be prevented?

It can absolutely be prevented, and indeed, recent studies from cancer research UK have shown that the incidence of bladder cancer has been reducing considerably in the last five years. This is due, at large, to a change in people’s smoking habits. So, the main way to prevent bladder cancer is to reduce the exposure to the causes, such as smoking.


What symptoms warn of possible bladder cancer? When should you see a doctor?

The main warning sign or symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. This is also associated sometimes with the frequent need to urinate, urgency in urination, and also some discomfort and pain while passing urine. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your GP as soon as possible.


Is bladder cancer curable?

Roughly 80 per cent of bladder cancer cases are presented or diagnosed at an early stage, and the rate of cure is anywhere from 90 to 95 per cent of these cases where the cancer has been diagnosed at an early stage. The cure rate is extremely high.


The cure for bladder cancer is usually associated with a minimally invasive procedure, which we perform using an endoscopic technique. Occasionally, we need to use some form of immunotherapy that we install into the bladder to reduce the risk of progression or recurrence.


Mr Ahmed Ali is a highly esteemed consultant urological surgeon who is an expert when it comes to treating bladder cancer. If you are worried about potential symptoms of bladder cancer, don’t hesitate to book a consultation with Mr Ali today via his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Ahmed Ali

Mr Ahmed Ali is a highly experienced consultant urological surgeon who specialises in bladder cancerprostate cancerbenign prostatic enlargementkidney stonestesticular cancer, as well as urinary tract infections, amongst many other urological-related conditions.

He currently practises at the highly prestigious The London Clinic hospital where he consults patients from both overseas and the UK. He also practices in Surrey at The Parkside Suite (Frimley Park Hospital), and the Circle Mount Alvernia Hospital in Guildford. He also recently joined the men’s health team at OneWelbeck in London, a clinic that provides a holistic approach to men’s health including prostatebladder, and andrology health check using cutting edge technology. He is the current lead for bladder cancer services at the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust’s urology department, the founder of the Arab British Urological Society, as well as being a consultant urologist at Urology Partners LLP.

He is an expert when it comes to urological oncology, and is highly qualified in relation to every aspect of urological-related diseases. He qualified as a doctor in 2005 after successfully completing an MBChB in medicine at the distinguished University of Baghdad. He moved to the UK and started training as a junior doctor in 2007, which allowed him to go on to obtain a master's degree in urology in 2013 from the University College London.

Ahmed started his urological training at St James Hospital in Leeds and subsequently undertook a fellowship at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. During his fellowship, he studied the role of MRI in the diagnosis of prostate cancer which is now the main method of prostate cancer diagnosis. Furthermore, he completed 5 years of higher urological training at the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Deanery by completing the FRSC Urol exam in 2017.

Upon his appointment as a consultant at the outstanding Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust in October 2017, Mr Ali was responsible for managing the bladder cancer services in the trust. In the past 5 years, Mr Ali has impressively introduced multiple new cutting-edge technologies in the management of bladder cancer. He introduced the use of radiofrequency-induced hyperthermia treatment for high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, and the use of laser in removing bladder cancer lesions with minimal blood loss. In addition, he regularly trains more junior urologists in using modern technologies in the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer.

After the COVID pandemic, Mr Ali started a new mobile service to help other Trusts in the UK deal with their long wait in treating urological cancers. He regularly undertakes and trains doctors in prostate diagnostic procedures. He follows the pathway of using MRI scan, followed by biopsies, using the fusion method to accurately diagnose prostate cancer using the precision point technique. This ensures accurate diagnosis of the type and grade of prostate cancer with minimal side effects, such as infection and pain.

With regard to education, Mr Ali is the consultant lead for simulation education at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. He has been involved in multiple successful programmes at the trust which involve simulation training. He also is a chief investigator in an NIHR study looking for a biomarker for the treatment of overactive bladder syndrome. 

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