Search in All Title Contents

Madrid, 22 May 2024.  In spite of being relatively unknown among the population as a whole, bladder cancer is actually the fifth most commonly diagnosed tumour in Spain2. According to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) estimates, more than 22,000 new cases are expected in 20242, with an incidence five times greater in men than women2.These figures highlight the importance of raising awareness of this high-impact disease, promoting early diagnosis and paying attention to the main warning signs that can often go unnoticed.

According to Dr. Enrique Grande, Head of the Medical Oncology Service at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid, early detection of bladder cancer plays a crucial role in patient survival, with the chances for cure significantly higher before it has spread to other areas of the body. However, the percentages for improvement, cure and survival may vary depending on a number of factors, including the stage at which the cancer is detected, the type of treatment received, and the individual patient's response to treatment.

For example, he continues, in cases of superficial bladder cancer, in other words when it is limited to the internal layer of the bladder, early detection can allow less invasive treatment, such as transurethral resection of the bladder (TURB). This can have a success rate of around 80-90% in terms of long-term survival1.

“In cases of invasive bladder cancer, where the tumour has spread to the deeper layers of the bladder such as the muscle, long term survival rates drop to approximately 50%1. In these instances, a combination of chemotherapy and surgery, combined with the immunotherapy that has been recently added to the therapeutic arsenal, can offer effective treatment options”, he explains.

Haematuria, the most common symptom of bladder cancer

Haematuria (or blood in the urine) is the most common symptom of bladder cancer, although it is not always present. "In addition to haematuria, other signs can include pain or itching when urinating, frequent need to urinate, having the feeling of ‘needing to go again’ when finished, pelvic pain and other changes in urinary habits”. Our expert stresses that if someone experiences haematuria or other urinary symptoms, "it is important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and early treatment."

It was actually haematuria that persuaded Laurent G, a patient with bladder cancer, to seek medical advice. “The symptom that got me to the doctor was a slight pink shade at the end of urination. I was not sure what it could be since it was not constant, although I could well imagine, and it was indeed blood”, explains the patient, who maintains that he did not suffer any type of physical pain or other symptoms.

However, as our MD Anderson Madrid specialist warns, blood in the urine is not always synonymous with bladder cancer. "It can be a symptom of other diseases, such as urinary tract infections, renal lithiasis (kidney stones), kidney diseases, trauma, autoimmune diseases and coagulation disorders," he adds.

Together with Dr. Ignacio Durán of the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital, Laurent G. has pioneered the first Spanish patients association specifically devoted to this type of tumour. "We are now in the final stages before launching. We already have the support of a number of renowned medical professionals, an expert scientific committee and the backing of the World Bladder Patient Coalition. I am pleased to announce that this year, 2024, Spain will have its own association of patients with bladder cancer, which will be known as CANVES (Alliance for Bladder Cancer in Spain)”, he adds, “One of the main objectives of the association will be awareness and prevention, because we know that prevention is better than cure”.


  1. Tasas de supervivencia del cáncer de vejiga. Disponible en: Último acceso: abril 2024.
  2. Informe SEOM: Cifras del Cáncer 2024. Disponible en: