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Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer occurs when malignant cells multiply within the bladder.  The bladder has three layers of tissue.  The innermost layer is called the mucosal lining, and this is where most cancers of the bladder begin.  Bladder cancer can then spread to the deeper layers of the bladder.  Bladder cancer usually affects older adults, although it can occur at any age. We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of bladder cancer below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer are as follows:

  • Blood in the urine, either visually detectable or seen under a microscope
  • Dark, bright red or cola-colored urine
  • Pain during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Inability to completely void the urine
  • Side pain
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loin pain
  • Chronic cystitis

These signs and symptoms of bladder cancer can also be indicative of other non-cancerous disorders, such as bacterial and non-bacterial cystitis and prostate infections.  Cigarette smoke is the main contributor to bladder cancer.  Chlorine from drinking water also contributes to a number of bladder cancer cases per year.  A history of cystitis also adds to the risk.  People working in dye, rubber or leather industries also have a higher bladder cancer risk.

Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer

Many bladder cancers are diagnosed early, when the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer have only affected the first layer of the bladder.  Bladder cancer in the first stage is highly treatable, though it may recur.

A diagnosis of bladder cancer is made through a biopsy that is made during a cystoscopy.  A cystoscopy is where a narrow tube is inserted through the urethra, and a sample of skin may be taken to check for cancer cells. Bladder cancer is four times more likely to be diagnosed in men than in women.

People who have the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer are usually referred to a urologist for diagnosis and treatment.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Johns Hopkins Patients’ Guide to Bladder Cancer (Johns Hopkins Patients Guides)
Mark L. Gonzalgo (Editor)
The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Bladder Cancer (Cleveland Clinic Guides)
Derek Raghavan

100 Questions & Answers About Bladder Cancer, Second Edition
Pamela Ellsworth
Bladder Cancer: A Resource Guide for Patients and Their Families
Gary Dunetz

Bladder Cancer Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Cancer Institute

Information about bladder cancer treatment, causes, screening, clinical trials, research, statistics, and other topics from the National Cancer Institute.

  • Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network

BCAN provides information and support to the bladder cancer community, increases public awareness of bladder cancer, and advances bladder cancer research.

  • Health Communities . com

Primary symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (hematuria). Symptoms, causes, pictures, diagnostic tests, types, staging, and treatment options described.

  • E Medicine Health

Read about bladder cancer causes, symptoms, signs (hematuria), diagnosis (biopsy, cystoscopy), treatment (BCG, cystectomy) and prevention.

  • Bladder Cancer Web Café

Information and resources for people diagnosed with bladder cancer and those who care for them, valuable tips and help for researching treatment options.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms and treatment of bladder cancer.

  • Web MD

Find in-depth information on bladder cancer including symptoms ranging from pain during urination (dysuria) to swelling in the lower legs.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.