Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Patient with bladder cancer symptoms

There are several bladder cancer signs to watch for if you are worried about your bladder health. It’s important to note, however, that some people with bladder cancer may not show some or any of these symptoms, while others might have symptoms that are actually caused by a medical condition other than cancer.

Early signs of bladder cancer

A common indicator of a medical condition in the bladder is blood in the urine, known as hematuria. If there is blood in the urine, it may appear dark yellow, bright red or a dark brown color similar to cola. However, hematuria can be an indication of an array of medical conditions other than cancer, like kidney stones or infection. That’s why it’s wise to see a specially trained physician, who can perform the necessary diagnostic tests to find the cause.

One of the most common early-stage bladder cancer signs is having blood in the urine, but no other symptoms or only slight pain. However, sometimes other symptoms are present including irritation or a change in bladder habits. Again, these symptoms could indicate other conditions such as a urinary tract infection, overactive bladder or enlarged prostate, but they are symptoms that should be brought to a doctor’s attention. Some of these other potential signs of bladder cancer include:

  • Pain or a burning sensation during urination
  • Frequent urination during the night
  • Feeling the need to urinate, but not being able to
  • Having the urge to urinate, even when the bladder isn’t full
  • Having a weak urine stream

Signs of advanced bladder cancer

Different and more severe symptoms may be experienced when bladder cancer has advanced (when the tumor has grown or when the cancer has metastasized to other areas of the body). These symptoms may include

  • Unexplained pain in the lower back or pelvis
  • A loss of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Inability to urinate
  • Bone pain
  • Swelling in the feet
  • Extreme fatigue or feeling very weak

These symptoms could be a sign of conditions other than bladder cancer, but it’s important to bring them to a physician’s attention so that necessary diagnostic tests can be run when appropriate. Passing off symptoms assuming they are being caused by less-serious conditions can result in delayed diagnosis, and bladder cancer can be more effectively treated the earlier it is detected.

Why choose Moffitt for bladder cancer treatment?

Moffitt Cancer Center’s Genitourinary Oncology Program has a multispecialty team of world-renowned experts ready to help determine whether your symptoms indicate bladder cancer and, if so, develop an individualized treatment plan to address it. Surgical treatments at Moffitt Cancer Center are performed with the help of state-of-the-art technology, including robotic assistance and laparoscopy, all with the aim of minimizing the invasiveness of the procedure. Additionally, our skilled team of medical and radiation oncologists is equipped to provide the most effective chemotherapy and radiation therapy available anywhere in the world. We are a Comprehensive Cancer Center, as designated by the National Cancer Institute – the only such facility based in Florida, which means that we offer the most advanced treatment options available to help you live your life to the fullest.

Medically Reviewed by, Scott Gilbert, MD, Department of Genitourinary Oncology.

Contact Moffitt Cancer Center by calling 1-888-663-3488 or by completing our new patient registration form to learn more about our diagnostic techniques and treatment options to address bladder cancer signs.