Bladder Cancer Signs, Symptoms, and Types

If you experience signs and symptoms of bladder cancer, it’s important to notify your doctor. Schedule an appointment to talk about your symptoms or any concerns you may have.

What Are Common Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?

Blood in the urine (hematuria) is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. Hematuria is often painless and may not be visible to the naked eye; however, if your urine appears rusty, dark red or brown, you should talk to your doctor. Hematuria could also indicate other conditions such as kidney stones, bladder stones or urinary tract infection (UTI).

Early bladder cancer signs and symptoms in men and women:

  • Blood or blood clots in your urine
  • Changes in bladder habits
  • Painful urination or burning
  • Frequent urination
  • Having the urge to urinate, but not being able to go

Less common bladder cancer signs or symptoms may include:

  • Swelling in the legs and feet
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Bone pain
  • Anemia
  • Pain in the rectal, anal or pelvic area

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer in Women

Early bladder cancer symptoms are often missed, ignored or misdiagnosed in females. This may be due to women attributing signs of blood in their urine to menstruation or menopause, or pain or burning when urinating to a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer in Men

Symptoms of bladder cancer are generally similar in men and women. However, with men nearly three times as likely than women to get bladder cancer, it’s important to stay on top of your bladder health.

These symptoms do not always mean you have bladder cancer. However, if you’re feeling unwell or experience these symptoms, talk with your doctor.

What Are Different Types of Bladder Cancer?

The main types of bladder cancer are:

  • Urothelial carcinoma (transitional cell carcinoma): About 90% of bladder cancers are urothelial carcinomas – cancers that begin in the urothelial cells, which line the inside of the bladder. Cancer that is confined to the lining of the bladder is called non-invasive bladder cancer. Urothelial cancers can develop anywhere from the renal pelvis, ureters, bladder and urethra.
  • Squamous cell: This type of bladder cancer begins in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that may form in the bladder after long-term infection or irritation. These cancers occur less often than urothelial carcinoma, but they may be more aggressive.
  • Adenocarcinoma: This type of bladder cancer develops in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation. This type of bladder cancer tends to be aggressive.
  • Other: There are also rare subtypes of the bladder cancer such as small-cell carcinomas, soft tissue sarcomas and rhabdomyosarcoma