Bladder Cancer Symptoms in Women vs. Men

Bladder cancer occurs when cells in the bladder change and grow uncontrollably. This malignancy can affect men and women differently, so it is important to be aware of the risk factors, causes and symptoms of bladder cancer so that any unusual changes can be promptly reported to a physician.

Bladder cancer in women

The biggest risk factor for bladder cancer in women is smoking. In fact, about 50 percent of women diagnosed with this malignancy are smokers. This is because many of the toxins in cigarettes are excreted in urine, which is held in the bladder before it is released. This means that the bladders of smokers experience prolonged contact with cancer causing agents. In the event bladder cancer does develop, a woman may experience symptoms including:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or a burning feeling during urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • The feeling of needing to urinate but being unable to do so
  • Pain in the pelvic region or lower back

It should be noted that some symptoms of bladder cancer can be very similar to those of urinary tract infections, which are common among women. Additionally, women have a tendency to mistake blood in the urine for menstruation or menopause. For these reasons, some women do not see their physician when signs of bladder cancer first appear, often giving the cancer cells more time to spread before they are diagnosed.

Bladder cancer in men

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men, and is almost three times more common in men than in women. Similar to women, smoking is the biggest risk factor for bladder cancer in men, as smokers are twice as likely to develop this malignancy as non-smokers. The symptoms of bladder cancer in men are the same as those in women. However, men with bladder cancer tend to be diagnosed earlier than women since men would not mistake blood in the urine for menstruation or menopause. As with any cancer, there are typically more treatment options available to individuals with bladder cancer when it is detected early.

Comprehensive bladder cancer diagnostic services, treatment and supportive care services are available at Moffitt Cancer Center. We provide individualized attention to each patient to ensure the treatment plan we recommend has been tailored to address the unique challenges of their cancer. If you are showing symptoms of bladder cancer, or have been recently diagnosed and are seeking a second opinion, we invite you to speak with the experts at Moffitt. Schedule a consultation by calling 1-888-663-3488 or fill out a new patient registration form online. We see patients with and without referrals.