By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Some of the most common symptoms of bladder cancer include:
Blood in the urine
The presence of blood in the urine or hematuria is usually the first warning sign of bladder cancer. Depending on how much blood is present, the urine may appear a pale yellow-red or pink color. Sometimes, it may be even be dark red.
Sometimes, the amount of blood in the urine may be too small to be visible to the naked eye and may only be detected in a laboratory. Blood may also be present one day but not the next, with the urine staying clear for months. In the case of bladder cancer, however, the blood eventually reappears. Blood in a person’s urine does not necessarily mean they have bladder cancer. Hematuria may also be caused by urinary tract infections, benign tumors, bladder or kidney stones or other benign kidney diseases.
Changes in urination
Patients with bladder cancer may find they need to urinate more frequently and more suddenly. A person may feel the urgent need to urinate even though the bladder is not full. The patient may also experience pain or burning on urination. These symptoms may also be caused by conditions such as bladder infection, bladder stones or an overactive bladder but patients are advised to have any of these symptoms checked out by a doctor.
Advanced bladder cancer
Pain is not a common finding in bladder cancer but cancer that has advanced beyond the bladder to other parts of the body may cause back pain or bone pain. Patients may also experience excess fatigue and unexplained weight loss in cases of advanced disease.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2014