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Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer may not cause symptoms. Other conditions can cause the same symptoms as bladder cancer. One example is urinary tract infections. It is still important to talk to the doctor. Finding and treating the cause early will improve the chances for a cure.

Blood in the Urine

The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine . The urine may look brown, rusty, or have clots. Often, bloody urine appears one day and disappears another. This does not mean that it goes away. Anyone with blood in the urine needs to see a doctor. This is true even if there is no pain.

Bladder Irritation

Irritation can cause problems that interfere with how the bladder works. Irritation may cause:

  • Urinating (peeing) more often
  • Needing to urinate (pee) very badly
  • Pain or burning when passing urine
  • Problems holding urine
  • Blocked urine flow, which may appear as:
    • Decreased force of urine coming out
    • Peeing that stops and starts
    • Straining to pee
    • Feeling like the bladder did not empty all the way

Later Stage Symptoms

Later stages of cancer may cause:

  • Feeling a pelvic mass
  • Pain in the belly, lower back, or side
  • Loss of hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Swelling in the legs and feet because of fluid buildup
  • Bone pain


  • Bladder cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/bladder-cancer. Accessed March 30, 2022.
  • Bladder cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/bladder-cancer. Accessed March 30, 2022.
  • General information about bladder cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/bladder/patient/bladder-treatment-pdq#_87. Accessed March 30, 2022.
  • Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/bladder-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-and-symptoms.html. Accessed March 30, 2022.


  • Nicole Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.