09/26/2012 12:43 pm ET Updated Sep 27, 2012

Bladder Cancer: What Is The Condition Andy Williams, 'Moon River' Singer, Died From?

"Moon River" singer Andy Williams has died at 84 from bladder cancer, according to news reports.

USA Today reported that Williams had been battling bladder cancer for a year, and his family requests that people wishing to send flowers instead make donations to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.

Bladder cancer risk rises as people age, and is also more common among men and white people, according to the Mayo Clinic.

In most cases of bladder cancer, the cancer arises in the cells that make up the bladder's inner lining (called transitional cell carcinomas), though other kinds of bladder cancer include cancer in the thin, flat cells of the bladder (called squamous cell carcinoma) and cancer in the fluid- and mucus-releasing cells in the bladder (called adenocarcinoma), according to the National Cancer Institute.

Symptoms of bladder cancer include problems with urinating -- blood in the urine, pain while urinating, and having to urinate more than usual -- as well as pain in the back and pelvic area, according to the Mayo Clinic.

While the exact cause of all bladder cancers is unknown, there are some significant risk factors for the disease. Smoking is a big one -- it's responsible for as many as half of all bladder cancer cases in men, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Other known risk factors include being exposed to certain carcinogenic chemicals at work (people who work in rubber, dye, aluminum and truck-driving fields may have a higher risk than others), having taken the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide, having had radiation treatments for cervical cancer in the past, and bladder infection in some cases, the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia reported.

Like many other cancers, bladder cancer is deadlier if it is in a higher stage and has spread to other parts of the body (the severity of the cancer is defined by stages). For example, stage 0 bladder cancer has a 98 percent survival rate over five years, but stage 3 bladder cancer has a 46 percent five-year survival rate and stage 4 bladder cancer has a 15 percent five-year survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society.

This year, there are expected to be 14,880 deaths from bladder cancer, and 73,510 new cases of the disease, the National Cancer Institute reported.

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