Bladder Cancer

Disease database

Bladder cancer is a serious condition that affects thousands of people worldwide. It is characterized by the abnormal growth of cells in the bladder, which can lead to various symptoms and complications. Understanding the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer is crucial for early detection and effective treatment. In this article, we will explore the key symptoms associated with bladder cancer and provide valuable insights into the disease.

Blood in Urine

One of the most common symptoms of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, also known as hematuria. This can occur either visibly, where the urine appears pink, red, or brown, or microscopically, where blood is only detected through laboratory tests. It is important to note that blood in the urine does not always indicate bladder cancer, as it can also be caused by other conditions such as urinary tract infections or kidney stones. However, if you notice blood in your urine, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

Frequent Urination

Bladder cancer can also cause frequent urination, known as urinary frequency. This occurs when you feel the need to urinate more often than usual, even if your bladder is not full. Frequent urination can disrupt daily activities and affect your quality of life. If you experience this symptom along with other signs of bladder cancer, it is advisable to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis.

Painful Urination

Painful urination, also called dysuria, is another symptom associated with bladder cancer. It can manifest as a burning sensation or discomfort during urination. This symptom is often caused by irritation or inflammation of the bladder lining due to the presence of cancerous cells. If you experience pain while urinating, it is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause.

Lower Back Pain

Bladder cancer can cause lower back pain, which is often a result of the tumor pressing against the surrounding tissues or nerves. This pain may be persistent or intermittent and can vary in intensity. If you have unexplained lower back pain, especially in conjunction with other bladder cancer symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical advice for proper evaluation and diagnosis.

Abdominal Pain

In some cases, bladder cancer can cause abdominal pain or discomfort. This pain may be localized to the lower abdomen or spread to other areas of the abdomen. It is important to differentiate bladder cancer-related abdominal pain from other gastrointestinal conditions, as prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential for managing the disease effectively.

Weight Loss

Unexplained weight loss is a symptom that can occur in advanced stages of bladder cancer. Cancer cells can alter the body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss even without a change in diet or physical activity. If you experience significant and unintentional weight loss, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation.


Fatigue, or extreme tiredness, is a common symptom experienced by individuals with bladder cancer. Cancer-related fatigue can be debilitating and affect daily activities and overall quality of life. It is important to address fatigue and seek appropriate medical support to manage this symptom effectively.

Swelling in Legs

In advanced cases of bladder cancer, the cancerous cells can obstruct the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid, leading to swelling in the legs. This swelling, known as edema, is often a sign of advanced disease and requires immediate medical attention.

Treatment and Prevention

While bladder cancer can be a serious condition, there are treatment options available that can help manage the disease. The treatment plan will depend on various factors, including the stage and grade of the cancer, as well as the individual’s overall health. Common treatment options for bladder cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.

Prevention plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of bladder cancer. Here are some tips to help prevent bladder cancer:

  • Avoid smoking or quit smoking if you are a smoker. Smoking is a significant risk factor for bladder cancer.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water daily.
  • Consume a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Minimize exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins, such as those found in certain industrial occupations.
  • Practice safe and protected sex to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections that may increase the risk of bladder cancer.

In conclusion, bladder cancer is a serious condition that can cause various symptoms, including blood in urine, frequent urination, painful urination, lower back pain, abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue, and swelling in the legs. Early detection and prompt medical intervention are crucial for effective management of bladder cancer. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis. By adopting preventive measures and seeking appropriate treatment, individuals can improve their chances of successful recovery and long-term well-being.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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