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Bladder Cancer

As with all cancers, a bladder cancer diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming for both patients and their caregivers. Compared to other cancer types, however, patient experience of bladder cancer care is especially poor. Depending on the cancer type and stage, discomfort from procedures and psychological stress can diminish quality of life in terms of fatigue, physical functions, and mental health.

Beyond treatment, side effects such as urinary incontinence, waking during the night to urinate, changes to sexual function, and altered body image, all contribute to psychological stress. Additionally, a bladder cancer diagnosis can affect a person’s quality of life because it requires life-long care such as stoma care, catheterization, or ensuring access to bathrooms.

Large studies using the National Cancer Database (NCDB) report that Black, female, uninsured, or Medicaid patients with any stage of bladder cancer are less likely than other patient populations to receive cancer-directed therapies. The cause of these disparities includes many factors such as referral delays, insurance authorization delays, patient preference, socioeconomic status, and limited access to high-volume treatment centers.

ACCC is providing resources for providers to recognize and address these barriers to guideline-concordant care.

Bladder Cancer Risk Factors

The most common risk factors for bladder cancer include smoking, workplace exposure, use of certain medications or herbal supplements, and the presence of arsenic in the drinking water. Bladder birth defects, urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney/bladder stones, long-term bladder catheters, and chronic bladder irritation have also been linked to bladder cancer (particularly squamous cell carcinoma).

Interactive eCourse

Implementing Shared Decision-Making in Bladder Cancer Care

ACCC’s Implementing Shared Decision-Making in Bladder Cancer Care e-Course supports quality person-centered care by educating the multidisciplinary bladder cancer care team on health literacy and health equity best practices and shared decision-making conversations. Through this brief online course, oncology professionals can better address the existing barriers to quality bladder cancer care for underserved populations and improve care coordination for improved health outcomes.

Cancer programs and academic centers can implement quality improvement steps to optimize the delivery of guideline-based treatment for vulnerable patients with bladder cancer and, in doing so, prevent disparities in treatment delivery and outcomes.

Featured Program: Multidisciplinary Bladder Cancer Care

A mark of a cohesive multidisciplinary cancer care team is the development and utilization of effective patient education practices and resources. Many cancer care teams embrace a patient-centered multidisciplinary care approach. Research continues to affirm its effectiveness.

Through this education project, ACCC is examining the barriers cancer care teams face when engaging patients in treatment and surveillance, including examples to show the impact of disparities in care and the costs attributed to the delay of treatment. Additionally, ACCC is developing operational tools for providers to use for the implementation of changes in their programs and communities, offering real-world examples of best practices in screening and identification of patients with bladder cancer, as well as strategies for delivering quality care to underserved populations.

For more information on this project, please contact the ACCC Provider Education department.

Cancer Buzz Podcasts

  • Examining Shared Decision-Making in Bladder Cancer Care — [PODCAST] EP 133
    Sep 28, 2023

    Disparities in bladder cancer care persist, especially with respect to race. In fact, patient demographics has a proven impact on health outcomes. Listen in as CancerBuzz speaks to Mary W. Dunn, MSN, RN, OCN, NP-C, Adult Nurse Practitioner of Urology and Medical Oncology at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Samuel L. Washington III, MD, MAS, Assistant Professor of Urology at the University of California, San Francisco, about health literacy, shared decision-making, and educational resources being developed by ACCC.

Featured Publication: Understanding and Mitigating Disparities in Bladder Cancer Care

Understanding-and-Mitigating-Disparities-in-Bladder-Cancer-Care-300x376This article explores disparities in bladder cancer, including data collected through a 2021 Bladder Cancer Economic Study by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). It offers practical and operational tips for oncology care team members to manage underserved patients with bladder cancer.


From the ACCCBuzz Blog

  • BCAN_BCAM_InstagramPost_v1k
    Get the Facts About Bladder Cancer
    May 20, 2021
    Each May, Bladder Cancer Awareness Month helps highlight the facts about bladder cancer, promote awareness about the disease, and call for more investment in research, treatment, and care. This year’s theme emphasizes the importance promoting conversations about bladder cancer and its symptoms, treatments, and management.

Featured Resources

Bladder Cancer Patient Guide 
Providing Equitable Care to Patients with Bladder Cancer

This equity-oriented care guide for patients with bladder cancer identifies roadblocks that patients with bladder cancer may encounter and what actions can be taken to mitigate disparities and unnecessary risks.
Read Publication

Effective Practices in Bladder Cancer Care 
Effective Practices in Bladder Cancer Care

This four-part series includes real life examples of programs that are making strides in the multidisciplinary approach to bladder cancer, showcasing the benefits of:


Abstracts & Presentations