Bladder Cancer

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Know the Warning Signs

Ask your primary care provider about bladder cancer screening options today.

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Early Detection is Key

Cancer of the bladder is the fourth most common cancer among men and is in the top 10 most common cancers among women in the United States. But, it doesn’t have to be scary. When caught early, it is highly treatable. Patients who are diagnosed early and get treatment can even be cancer-free following therapy.

What are the Symptoms?

In most cases, the first symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (hematuria). However, other symptoms can include:

  • Frequent urgency to urinate
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Pain in the lower part of abdomen, pelvis or back

If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will perform a complete physical exam and review your personal and family medical history. You also will have a urinalysis, which checks for blood or other abnormalities in your urine.

Who Should Get Screened?

Bladder cancer is typically found in older people - usually after the age of 65. Active and former tobacco users who are younger than 60 but have smoked for 20 years are also at risk.

Bladder cancer affects men three times as often as women. Women often are misdiagnosed when blood in the urine is attributed to other conditions. When finally identified, a woman’s bladder cancer is usually more advanced and harder to treat.

View one man's journey to recovery

Types of Screening

While there is no routine screening method for bladder cancer, people at risk or with symptoms may be evaluated with:

  • Hematuria tests, which look for red blood cells in the urine.
  • Cystoscopy, where a narrow caliber, lighted tube called a cystoscope is inserted through the urethra and into the bladder. Your doctor may take some tissue samples for biopsy during this procedure.
  • Urine cytology, which uses a microscope to look for abnormal cells in a urine sample.

Treatment Options

The Penn State Cancer Institute team works together to make the diagnosis and determine the best treatment options for each bladder cancer patient.

  • Most bladder cancer patients will need surgery to diagnose and help treat their cancer. Your doctor will talk to you about the type of surgery that is right for your specific cancer.
  • Radiation therapy is also sometimes used to treat bladder cancer. If necessary, you will meet with a radiation oncologist to talk about its risks and benefits.
  • Some patients with bladder cancer may need chemotherapy or immunotherapy. These treatments kill cancer cells everywhere in your body. Your medical oncologist will talk to you about the plan that is right for you.

Find Out More

You can find more information about bladder cancer, the treatment options available and our team here.

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Colorectal Cancer

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Yes. Screenings Save Lives

Ask your primary care provider about colorectal cancer screening options today.

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Get Screened

In the past year, 1 in 4 people are not getting screened. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. From 2011 to 2016, rates of colon cancer among people ages 65 and older fell by 3% per year because of screenings, according to the American Cancer Society

Benefits of Screening

Screening can help you prevent colorectal cancer by finding and removing polyps in the colon and rectum before they turn into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer early, when it’s small, hasn’t spread and might be easier to treat.

Importance of Screening

Colorectal cancer grows slowly. It most often begins as a benign (noncancerous) polyp in the lining of the colon. While bleeding and other bowel problems may indicate colorectal cancer, those symptoms sometimes don’t appear in the early stages of the disease. Only colorectal screening can detect cancer early - sometimes before it begins.

Medical Myth

Do I only need a colonoscopy if I show symptoms?

Who Should Get Screened?

People at average risk for colon cancer should start screenings at age 45. People at higher risk, including African Americans, people with type 2 diabetes and people with a family or personal history of polyps or colorectal cancer should start screening at age 40 or ten years before their family member was diagnosed. For people with a family history of colorectal cancer before the age of 60, screenings should continue to be scheduled every five years. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), specifically Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, have recommendations for screenings specific to the length of time they have had the disease and not related to the average risk starting age of 45. These patients should consult with their IBD provider for individual recommendations. 

What is the age for colorectal screening?

Types of Screening

  • Colonoscopy - this test allows doctors to view the inside of the colon and remove any polyps or abnormal findings for further testing. It’s recommended once every 10 years for people at average risk.
  • Virtual colonoscopy - this less invasive test is a CT scan of the colon. It can be done once every five years, but if the test detects polyps, you will still need a colonoscopy.
  • Stool DNA Test - these tests (such as Cologuard) measure stool DNA from a single sample and can be as effective as a colonoscopy for people at average risk. It should be done once every three years.
  • Fecal tests - a Fecal Immunochemical Test checks for blood in samples from a single stool. A high-sensitivity guaiac-based fecal occult blood test involves testing from three separate bowel movements. Either test is recommended once a year for people at average risk.

People at high risk should have a colonoscopy once every five years and should avoid other screening options.

If your doctor finds a polyp or other concern, you will need additional tests, such as blood tests for tumor markers and imaging exams for cancer staging. Diagnosing the type and stage of colon cancer helps determine your prognosis and treatment options. Early-stage colon cancer is highly treatable.

What are Colorectal Cancer Treatment Options?

Reduce Your Risk

You can reduce your risk for colorectal cancer by:

  • Reducing alcohol intake (or not drinking at all)
  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and light on red and processed meats
  • Getting moderate physical activity most days of the week
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Quitting smoking (or not starting at all)

Where do I start?

Ask your primary care provider to order your screening today.

What if I need treatment or a second opinion?

All Penn State Health hospitals offer expert-level care for colorectal cancer surgeries. The team at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center provides nationally recognized care and offers a full spectrum of advanced treatments to care for even the most complex colorectal cancers. For patients who need surgery, our colorectal surgeons will work with you and your family to make sure you receive the individualized care you need - every step of the way. 

For more information about colorectal cancer and the treatment options available click here.


Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

500 University Dr.
Hershey, PA 17033
Phone: 717-531-8887
Learn more about this location

Holy Spirit Medical Center

503 N. 21st St.
Camp Hill, PA 17011
Phone: 717-761-7244
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St. Joseph Medical Center

2500 Bernville Rd.
Reading, PA 19605
Learn more about this location

colorectal cancer, colorectal cancer screening, colorectal cancer treatment options, risk of colorectal cancer, colorectal screening options Adult Region Cumberland County Summary Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. Ask your primary care provider about colorectal cancer screening options today.
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