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What is the primary symptom of bladder cancer?

Blood in the urine is the primary symptom of bladder cancer.  In fact, 8 in 10 people with bladder cancer will have blood in their urine, a condition doctors call hematuria. 

Generally, if you have visible blood in the urine there is an elevated chance that bladder cancer might be a concern. 

Non-specific sign of bladder cancer

Blood in the urine is the most common but not a very specific sign of bladder cancer. Blood in your urine could suggest common conditions such as urinary tract infection, benign (non-cancerous) tumors, kidney stones, or other benign kidney diseases.

So it’s important you tell your doctor if there is blood in your urine so that other conditions can be ruled out. 

What is the color of urine when there is bladder cancer?

Due to the presence of blood, urine can be rusty or deep red in color. In some cases, the urine may be dark brown. 

However, when the blood in urine is microscopic, it may not be detectable to the naked eyes so a urine test will be essential as a first order diagnostic tool. 

Bladder cancer and its symptoms can be subtle and oftentimes there’s little to no pain initially. 

As your bladder cancer progresses, you may experience the following:

  1. Urinate more often than usual (urinary frequency)
  2. Pain or burning sensation during urination
  3. Uncontrollable urge to urinate (urinary urgency)
  4. Pain in your pelvis or lower back
  5. Difficulty beginning urination (urinary hesitancy)
  6. Getting up several times at night to urinate
  7. Weak urine stream or trouble urinating

These symptoms may also be caused by other conditions, such as bladder stones, urinary tract infection (UTI), an overactive bladder, or an enlarged prostate (in men). You’ll need to have the symptoms checked by your doctor so that the cause can be found and treated.

What are the signs of advanced bladder cancer?

When bladder cancer has grown larger or has spread to other parts of the body, it can cause other more severe symptoms.  

Some of the symptoms include:

  1. Pain in the side or lower back
  2. Being unable to pass urine
  3. Feeling weak or tired
  4. Swelling in the feet
  5. Bone pain
  6. Weight loss
  7. Loss of appetite

Again, many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions. So it is important that you get checked by your doctor.  If your doctor suspects that you have bladder cancer, the physician will order more specific tests and exams to confirm the cancer. 

At Advanced Urology Institute, we offer diagnostic and treatment services for bladder cancer. 

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer, visit our website

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Advanced Urology Institute

Advanced Urology Institute is the largest urology practice in Florida. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our patients by providing excellent Patient-Centered Care. Set an appointment or visit our closest office near you.

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