A bladder mass is any large lump, tumor, or cyst that is found on the bladder or in the immediate area. The mass may be noticed after symptoms arise or during a pelvic exam regarding another condition. Not all instances of a bladder mass indicate cancer, but since it is a risk, a biopsy may be performed. In some cases a mass may be detected during certain urine tests.
One type of mass is a cyst. In most cases, a bladder cyst is not cause for alarm unless it is blocking urine flow or causing extreme pain. These cases may require surgery to remove the mass, or the underlying cause of the cyst’s development may need to be determined to cause it to shrink or go away entirely.
The other major type of mass is bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is much more common in men than in women, but it is a leading type of cancer diagnosis for both sexes. If cancer is suspected once a mass is found, additional tests may be done to determine if the mass is malignant or benign. Malignant tumors are those that are determined to be cancerous, and additional treatment will be necessary.
Most patients who are diagnosed with a cancer-related bladder mass have a good chance of being cured. Bladder cancers tend to be slow-growing and rarely cause life-threatening symptoms, such as the spreading of cells to other organs. This does not mean that treatment isn’t necessary. Chemotherapy and radiation may be used alone or in combination, and sometimes surgery will be needed to remove the mass. These treatments are generally offered for more advanced cancers.
If the mass is caught early, Bacillus Calmette-Guerin Immunotherapy may be used instead of traditional cancer therapies. This substance is inserted directly into the bladder. Once there, it causes inflammation while killing tumor cells. It also helps prevent additional cancer cells from forming. This treatment is most effective when used in stage one or two cancers, or cancers that have not spread beyond the bladder.
Symptoms of a bladder mass may include stomach pain, urinary symptoms like urgency or an inability to urinate, or bloody urine. These symptoms rarely indicate a mass, but should be checked by a doctor to rule out this or other medical causes. If a mass is suspected, an ultrasound, X-ray, or other tests will be performed to confirm the diagnosis.