Non-cancerous tumours and conditions of the bladder

A non-cancerous (benign) tumour of the bladder is a growth that starts in the lining or other tissues of the bladder. A non-cancerous condition is when there is a change to bladder cells. Non-cancerous tumours and conditions do not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. They are not cancer and are not usually life-threatening.

There are several types of non-cancerous tumours and conditions of the bladder.

Non-cancerous tumours

Most non-cancerous tumours of the bladder are uncommon. They may cause blood in the urine (pee) and bladder problems. A cystoscopy is often used to diagnose these tumours, and the tumours may be removed during the cystoscopy.

Papillomas start in urothelial cells that make up the inner lining of the bladder. They are tumours that grow out toward the centre of the bladder. Usually only one small papilloma is found.

Inverted papillomas are usually flat tumours that start in the inner lining of the bladder. They grow into the wall of the bladder.

Other rare types of non-cancerous bladder tumours are:

  • leiomyoma – starts in the smooth (involuntary) muscle of the bladder and is made up of an overgrowth of muscle cells
  • solitary fibrous tumour – starts in the fibrous connective tissue of the bladder wall
  • hemangioma – an abnormal buildup of blood vessels in the bladder
  • neurofibroma – small lump in the nerves of the bladder
  • lipoma – starts in the fat surrounding the bladder

Non-cancerous conditions

Non-cancerous conditions can affect the bladder and cause symptoms similar to bladder cancer.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common non-cancerous condition of the bladder. UTIs are usually caused by bacteria in the bladder and urethra. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • fever, chills and malaise
  • blood in the urine (called hematuria)
  • burning or pain during urination
  • the need to urinate often (called urinary frequency)
  • an intense need to urinate (called urinary urgency)
  • a weaker than normal urinary stream

UTIs are usually diagnosed by a physical exam and urine tests. They are usually treated with antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. Medicines may also be given to treat fever or pain.

Urinary tract stones (also called nephrolithiasis or urinary calculi) are made up of hard deposits of minerals (mostly calcium) that start forming in the kidney. They may get larger in a ureter or the bladder. The stones can cause pain (sometimes severe), blood in the urine and infection. Urinary tract stones are treated by taking medicines and drinking lots of fluids (or getting fluids by a needle into a vein). Sometimes urinary tract stones need to be removed with surgery.

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