- Bladder Cancer Slideshow
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- Patient Comments: Bladder Cancer - Effective Treatment
- Patient Comments: Bladder Cancer - Share Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Bladder Cancer - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Bladder Cancer - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Bladder Cancer - Transurethral Surgery Experience
- Patient Comments: Bladder Cancer - Chemotherapy Experience
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- Bladder cancer facts
- What is the bladder?
- What are the layers of the bladder?
- What is bladder cancer?
- What is the burden of bladder cancer in the U.S.?
- What are the types of bladder cancer?
- What are bladder cancer causes and risk factors?
- What are bladder cancer symptoms and signs?
- How is bladder cancer diagnosed?
- How is bladder cancer staging determined?
- What is bladder cancer grading?
- What is transurethral surgery (TURBT) for bladder cancer?
- What is the treatment for superficial bladder cancer?
- What is surveillance for bladder cancer?
- What is the treatment for muscle-invasive bladder cancer?
- What is chemotherapy for bladder cancer?
- What is the prognosis for bladder cancer?
- Can bladder cancer be prevented?
- Where can people find more information on bladder cancer?
- What research is being done on bladder cancer?
Quick GuideBladder Cancer Symptoms, Stages, Treatments
What are bladder cancer symptoms and signs?
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is bleeding in the urine (hematuria). Most often the bleeding is "gross" (visible to the naked eye), episodic (occurs in episodes), and is not associated with pain (painless hematuria). However, sometimes the bleeding may only be visible under a microscope (microscopic hematuria) or may be associated with pain due to the blockage of urine by formation of blood clots. There may be no symptoms or bleeding for prolonged periods of time between episodes, lulling the patient into a false sense of security ("I don't know what the problem was, but it is fine now!"). Some types of bladder cancer may cause irritative symptoms of the bladder with little or no bleeding. The patients may have the desire to urinate small amounts in short intervals (increased urinary frequency), an inability to hold the urine for any length of time after the initial desire to void (urgency), or a burning sensation while passing urine (dysuria). These symptoms occur more commonly in patients with high-grade, flat urothelial cancers called "carcinoma in situ" or "CIS" (described subsequently in the section on staging of bladder cancer). Other problems may cause blood to appear in the urine; for example, infections, kidney stones, and kidney disease, so it is important to have a physician check for the exact cause of blood in the urine.
Rarely, patients may have signs and symptoms of more advanced disease such as a distended bladder (due to obstruction by a tumor at the bladder neck), an inability to pass any urine, pain in the flanks (due to obstruction of urine flow from kidney to the bladder by the growing tumor mass in the bladder), bone pains, foot and/or ankle swelling, or cough/blood in the phlegm (due to spread to cancer cells to bones or lungs).