Bladder cancer often shows symptoms when it’s too late as the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. Bladder cancer is any of several types of cancer arising from the tissue of the urinary bladder. It is a disease in which cells grow abnormally and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body. For those who smoke, have a family history, prior radiation therapy, frequent bladder infections, and exposure to certain chemicals, their risk of developing the condition is much higher. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer and the earlier one is able to spot the signs, the earlier treatment can begin. What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?
In most cases, blood in the urine is the first sign of bladder cancer.
Blood in the urine does not always mean it is bladder cancer. More often it’s caused by other things such as an infection, tumours, stones in the kidney or bladder, or other benign kidney diseases.
Most often bladder cancer is diagnosed after a person tells his or her GP about blood in the urine.
Gross hematuria means that enough blood is present in the urine that the patient can see it. It is also possible that there are small amounts of blood in the urine that cannot be seen.
This is known as microscopic hematuria, and can only be found with a urine test. Cancer.Net said: “General urine tests are not used to make a specific diagnosis of bladder cancer because hematuria can be a sign of several other conditions that are not cancer, such as an infection or kidney stones.
One type of urine test that can find out whether there is cancer is cytology, a test in which the urine is studied under a microscope to look for cancer cells.”
A survey by PHE found just 16 per cent of adults over 50 check their urine colour before flushing, with women being less likely to look than men.
However, changes in urine colour are a symptom in almost two thirds of bladder cancer cases and a fifth of kidney cancer cases.
Professor Chris Harrison, from NHS England, said: “The earlier people are diagnosed, the better their chances, which is why it is vital people understand what to look out for and when to visit the GP.”
Less common symptoms of bladder cancer include a need to urinate more frequently, and a burning sensation when passing urine.
If you suspect you may have any of these symptoms, speak with your GP about the possible cause.