Blood in the urine (hematuria) is the most common sign of bladder cancer. This is a warning sign of bladder cancer for all genders, and for non-muscle invasive (NMIBC) and invasive bladder cancer. Muscle invasive bladder cancer means the cancer is in the muscle of the bladder. Most bladder cancer is non-muscle invasive when it’s diagnosed.
There are other symptoms to watch for as well. They may be caused by something other than bladder cancer. It’s important to have them checked out by your healthcare provider.
For females, it can be hard to know the difference between bladder cancer symptoms and urinary system problems.
Signs of bladder cancer
The blood can be very faint, with a pink look to it. Or, your urine (pee) can look bloody.
- You often will not have pain or other urinary symptoms.
- You may not have blood in your urine all the time. It can come and go.
- A urine test can find blood that you can’t see.
In women, blood in your urine is often overlooked as a possible sign of bladder cancer. It can be mistaken for the most common causes of blood in the urine:
- A urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Postmenopausal uterine bleeding
Many women who have blood in their urine think they have a UTI. This may delay a visit to their healthcare provider. Other times, their healthcare provider may assume the blood is from more common causes, not bladder cancer. As a result, women often are diagnosed with bladder cancer at a later stage, when it’s harder to treat or cure.
Feeling pain or burning sometimes when you urinate (pee) could be a sign of bladder cancer.
You may feel like you need to urinate right away, even though your bladder is not full.
You may need to urinate more often than usual.
You may wake up at night with a very strong need to urinate.
Feeling more tired or having less energy than usual is a common symptom of many kinds of cancer, including bladder cancer.
You may feel pain side of your back just below your rib cage and above your waist.
Bladder cancer can make it uncomfortable to eat. It can make you feel like you don’t want to eat at all.
Weight loss is a common symptom of many kinds of cancer, including bladder cancer.