Because the bladder is responsible for holding urine after it is excreted by the kidneys, many of the symptoms of bladder cancer can be related to urinary incontinence.
It takes the expertise of a trained and experienced bladder cancer specialist to understand whether the symptoms are signs of a serious illness, to diagnose bladder cancer or to confirm a previous diagnosis.
At Cancer Centers of America (CTCA), our bladder cancer specialists treat all stages of the disease.
Early symptoms of bladder cancer
Blood in the urine (hematuria): This is often the first symptom of bladder cancer. It can be constant, or it can disappear and reappear after a few days or weeks. Sometimes the blood is so small that it cannot be seen with the naked eye, called microscopic hematuria, but it can be detected by urinalysis.
Even a small amount of blood can turn the color of urine orange, pink, or rarely dark red. When blood causes the urine to change color, it is called gross hematuria.
Bladder cancer usually does not cause pain or other symptoms other than bleeding. But the presence of blood in the urine does not mean that there is a tumor in the bladder. It is more likely to be caused by a more serious condition, such as an infection. kidney stones, bladder stones, non-cancerous tumors or kidney disease.
It is important to note that menstrual blood can appear in a woman’s urine test, which can lead to a false positive test result. In this case, doctors recommend repeating the test.
Changes in urine output: Changes in urine output are often a symptom of a more serious condition, such as a benign tumor, infection, urinary tract infection, bladder stones, overactive bladder, or, in men, an enlarged prostate. But they can be another symptom of bladder cancer. These changes are:
Pain and burning when urinating
Inability to urinate
A feeling of urgency to urinate, even if the bladder is not full
Weak flow of urine
Symptoms of advanced bladder cancer
When a bladder tumor grows or cancer cells spread to other parts of the body, the following symptoms may occur:
Inability to urinate
Lumbar pain, generally concentrated on one side
Weakness or fatigue
Swelling of the feet
Unexplained weight loss
Loss of appetite
If bladder cancer has spread or metastasized to another part of the body, it may cause symptoms related to that part of the body.
Lungs: Coughing or shortness of breath
Liver: Abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or eyes)
Bones: Pain, fractures
If bladder cancer is suspected, your doctor may recommend tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.