Bladder Cancer Specialist

Advanced Urology of Sarasota, LLC

Gerard A. Curtis, MD

Board Certified Urologist located in Sarasota, FL & Lakewood Ranch, FL

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men but is much less common in women. At Advanced Urology of Sarasota, LLC, board-certified urologic oncology specialist Gerard Curtis, MD, has extensive experience with cutting-edge cancer treatments that can destroy the cancer and preserve your health. For expert care, call the Sarasota, Florida, office or book an appointment online today.

Bladder Cancer Q&A

What is bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer is a malignant growth within your bladder. Your bladder has multiple layers, including muscle, connective tissue, and interior lining, with fat on the outside. Cancer can grow in any of the bladder layers but most commonly affects the bladder lining. 

If diagnosed before spreading, bladder cancer is very treatable so the earliest possible diagnosis is important. There's no routine bladder cancer screening test, but Dr. Curtis expertly assesses your risk factors and current health to determine whether you need testing. 

What are the risk factors for bladder cancer?

Tobacco use is the biggest risk factor for bladder cancer. Chemicals from the tobacco collect within your bladder lining over time, which raises your risk significantly. Bladder cancer is 2-3 times more common among smokers. 

Other risk factors for bladder cancer include:

  • Chronic bladder infections
  • Long-lasting bladder infections
  • Taking certain medications, primarily those for other types of cancer
  • Radiation in your pelvis as part of prostate or other cancer treatment
  • High arsenic in your drinking water
  • Workplace chemical exposure

Your risk of bladder cancer goes up as you age. About 90% of bladder cancer patients are over the age of 55. Men get bladder cancer more than women. 

What are the signs of bladder cancer?

Bladder cancer may not cause symptoms in the beginning. Often, the first symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Sometimes the amount of blood is so small that you can't see it, but Dr. Curtis can identify it during a microscopic exam.

Other possible symptoms of bladder cancer include:

  • Pain during urination
  • Pelvic pain
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Increased urge to urinate, even if you don't actually need to  
  • Slow urine stream
  • Inconsistent urine stream

These symptoms are also common in many other conditions, including noncancerous conditions like enlarged prostate, urinary tract infections, and kidney stones. 

Dr. Curtis uses physical exams, urine tests, imaging tests, and other diagnostic procedures to determine whether you have bladder cancer or another condition.

How is bladder cancer treated?

Dr. Curtis treats bladder cancer according to many individual factors, including cancer stage and aggressiveness. There are a number of options for treatment, including radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and surgical procedures. 

As a highly trained da Vinci Surgical System surgeon, Dr. Curtis often performs minimally invasive cystectomy. In this procedure, he removes your bladder using very small incisions, which allows for less bleeding, reduced pain, and much faster recovery than standard surgery. 

During your cystectomy, Dr. Curtis creates a urinary diversion, which is essentially a new bladder. This cutting-edge surgery allows you to continue nearly normal function.

Learn more about bladder cancer solutions by calling Advanced Urology of Sarasota, LLC or booking an appointment online today.