Bladder cancer may not have many symptoms. If you experience any symptoms, do not assume it is due to cancer. Many symptoms can be caused by other, less serious conditions, such as urinary tract infections. However, it is still important to discuss them with your doctor. Early detection and treatment improve outcomes for both cancer and other health conditions.
Blood in the Urine
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. The urine may appear brown, rust colored, or it may have visible blood clots in it.
Typically, bloody urine is intermittent, meaning it may appear one day and disappear another. This does not mean there is not a problem or that it goes away. Anytime blood appears in the urine, even if there is no pain, it should be reported to your doctor.
Irritation to the bladder can affect how it holds and passes urine. Symptoms of irritation include: Increased frequency of urinationIntense urgency when needing to urinatePain and/or burning with urinationInability to hold urine
Obstructive problems such as:
Decreased force of streamIntermittent streamStrainingFeeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
Later stages of cancer may cause: Sensation of a pelvic mass
Pain in the abdomen, lower back, or side caused by pressure on nearby nerves Decreased appetite and unintended weight lossIntense fatigue, abnormally low energySwelling from excess fluid in the legs and feetBone pain
Bladder cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003085-pdf.pdf. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Bladder cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/bladder-cancer. Updated November 2013. Accessed June 26, 2015.
General information about bladder cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/bladder/patient/bladder-treatment-pdq. Updated May 29, 2015. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Last reviewed May 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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