Signs of bladder cancer to spot – 10,000 Britons diagnosed yearly

The important symptoms of bladder cancer to remember

Bladder cancer is the 11th most common type of cancer in the UK, but the ninth most deadly – accounting for more than 10,000 diagnoses and 5,000 deaths each year.

Despite this, many of the symptoms of the disease can be misdiagnosed for other issues such as urinary tract infections, kidney infections and kidney stones.

This can result in the disease not being found until it becomes more advanced.

In line with Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, it is vital to be aware of some of the signs in order to catch the disease as early as possible.

And since almost half of bladder cancer cases (49 percent) are thought to be preventable it is worth being aware of some of the risk factors associated with the disease.


According to the NHS, haematuria is the most common symptoms of the disease

This is the medical term for having blood in your urine, which is typically painless.

This could present as streaks of blood in the urine or urine that is more brown in colour. The blood might not always be noticeable and it can come and go.

Less common symptoms of bladder cancer include:

  • A need to urinate on a more frequent basis
  • Sudden urges to urinate
  • A burning sensation when passing urine.

However, if bladder cancer reaches an advanced stage and has spread it can result in additional symptoms.

These symptoms can include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Bone pain
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Swelling of the legs.

Seeking medical advice

Although blood in your urine doesn’t mean you definitely have bladder cancer you should still see your GP to find out what’s causing it.

It could be the result of other conditions such as:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs), such as cystitis
  • A kidney infection
  • Kidney stones
  • Non-gonococcal urethritis
  • An enlarged prostate gland in men.

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Risk factors for bladder cancer

Bladder cancer occurs when the cells of the bladder change.

The NHS says: “It’s often linked with exposure to certain chemicals, but the cause isn’t always known.”

Smoking is the single biggest risk factor for developing bladder cancer because of the chemicals found in cigarettes.

The NHS explains: “If you smoke for many years, these chemicals pass into your bloodstream and are filtered by the kidneys into your urine.

“The bladder is repeatedly exposed to these harmful chemicals, as it acts as a store for urine. This can cause changes to the cells of the bladder lining, which may lead to bladder cancer.”

It is thought a third of all bladder cancer cases are caused by smoking, with smokers four times more likely to develop the disease.

Exposure to certain industrial chemicals is the second biggest risk factor.

Therefore, occupations linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer are manufacturing jobs that involve:

  • Dyes
  • Textiles
  • Rubbers
  • Paints
  • Plastics
  • Leather tanning.

If you experience any symptoms of bladder cancer you should speak to your GP as soon as possible.

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