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Symptoms

See what the symptoms of bladder cancer can be, and when you should see a GP.

These are the possible symptoms of bladder cancer. Your symptoms are unlikely to be cancer, but it's important to get them checked by a doctor.

Blood in the urine

Blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. 4 out of 5 people with bladder cancer (80%) have some blood in their urine. Doctors call blood in the urine haematuria (pronounced heem-at-you-ree-ah).

You may actually see the blood. It usually looks bright red. Rarely, it may look dark brown.

Sometimes the blood is there in such small amounts that you can't see it. But a urine test will still show if blood is present.

The blood may not be there all the time. It can come and go. But if you ever see blood in your urine, you should go to your GP.

The bleeding is not usually painful. But it can help your doctor to know whether you had any pain when you passed the urine with the blood in it. Do tell them if you had.

It can also help if you tell them whether: 

  • there is blood only when you start to pee
  • the blood is mixed with all the urine you pass

Problems with passing urine

Your doctor may want to check out other problems with passing urine if you have them. These include:

  • needing to pass urine very often (frequency)
  • needing to pass urine very suddenly (urgency)
  • pain when passing urine

These symptoms are much more likely to be caused by other conditions rather than cancer. You are more likely to have a urine infection, particularly if you do not have blood in your urine. For men, the symptoms could be caused by an enlarged prostate gland. 

But do tell your doctor straight away if you have these symptoms. If you have an infection, it can usually be cleared up very quickly with antibiotics. And it is always best to check for cancer as early as possible, so that it can be diagnosed while it is easier to treat.

When to see your doctor

You should see your doctor if you:

  • notice blood in your urine
  • need to pass urine very often
  • need to pass urine very suddenly
  • have pain when passing urine

Your symptoms are unlikely to be cancer. But it's important to get them checked by a doctor.

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.