Are all Bladder Tumors Cancerous?

January 16, 2019

The fear of bladder tumor symptoms

When you hear your doctor utter the word bladder alongside tumor, growth, cyst, or polyp, the word that immediately springs to your mind is “cancer.” To make matters worse, they then mention biopsy. Suddenly, your heart’s racing as if it’s late to work; your mind spins a mile a minute. Naturally, you begin thinking the worst.

The good news, however, is that this news isn’t always bad. Not all bladder growths are cancerous. Yes, you read that correctly: Your mind doesn’t need to suddenly slingshot to thinking which stage of bladder cancer you may be in, and there’s no need — not yet, at least — to ask your doctor, “is bladder cancer painful?”, because the question of comfort is sure to come to mind.

The signs and symptoms of a non-cancerous bladder tumor may be similar to those of cancerous bladder tumor symptoms, such as blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, or frequent urinary tract infection symptoms. These symptoms should not be ignored and you should go see a doctor.  

How is bladder cancer diagnosed?

To find out what’s causing these symptoms, the Austin Urology Institute’s own Dr. Shaw will perform a simple, non-invasive, in-office procedure called a cystoscopy — a minor procedure in which a scope is inserted into the bladder to look for abnormal tissue. The purpose of a cystoscopy is to remove the bladder growth and take a biopsy, which is then sent to a lab for pathology.

Many times, the pathology indicates that the tissue growth found was benign or non-cancerous.


So what if you receive the news of a “growth” in your bladder? It may not be the scary news you fear. Here are some types of non-cancerous/benign growths typically found in the bladder:

  • Papillomas: these are an overgrowth of cells that make up the lining of the bladder and the urinary tract. They grow out of the bladder lining into the bladder cavity or can invert into the bladder wall. Either way, they are benign!
  • Leiomyomas:  these are an overgrowth of smooth muscle cells in the muscle layer of the bladder wall.  Benign!
  • Fibromas: these are an overgrowth of cells that start in fibrous connective tissues in the bladder wall. Benign!
  • Hemangiomas: these are cells that are made up of a mass or lump of blood vessels in the bladder wall. Benign!
  • Neurofibromas: these are an overgrowth of cells in the nerve tissue in the bladder. Benign!
  • Lipomas: this is tissue overgrowth that starts in fat cells in the layer of fat that surrounds the bladder Benign!

All of these fancy names are just different ways to categorize the specific types of cells that can cause a change to the bladder. They are non-cancerous, or benign, and typically do not spread to other parts of the body. More notably, most often non-life threatening.

The importance of seeing your Urologist

Even though this is great news (huge sigh), it’s still important to be seen if you have any symptoms of blood in your urine, repeated blood seen microscopically when your urine is checked by your doctor, have difficulty urinating, or have frequent urinary tract infection symptoms.

Why wait until you’re frantically searching for the top bladder cancer hospitals in Austin when one quick call to the Austin Urology Institute (512-694-8888) connects you with the premier bladder cancer treatment option in the area?