Symptoms of metastatic bladder cancer

Symptoms of metastatic bladder cancer depend on which part of the body the cancer has spread to.

A common symptom is weight loss. Others can include:

  • swollen legs
  • pain in your bones
  • pain in your tummy (abdomen)
  • shortness of breath
  • lumps in your abdomen or neck
  • yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice)

Some people also feel increasingly tired. But remember there can be lots of reasons for feeling tired. It might not mean that you have advanced cancer if you have these symptoms. They can be caused by other conditions.

From time to time you are likely to have aches and pains, or days when you don't feel very good. This might not be related to your cancer, but you may worry that they are. 

Tell your doctor or specialist nurse about any symptoms that are worrying you. They can reassure you and work out the cause. If the symptoms are due to the cancer, they can give you treatment to help you feel better.

Controlling symptoms

Treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted cancer drugs or immunotherapy can sometimes shrink the cancer and reduce symptoms.

Your doctor or specialist nurse (key worker) can:

  • give you medicines
  • help you to get equipment that you need
  • suggest other ways of controlling your symptoms
  • refer you to a symptom control team (a palliative care team)
  • Bladder Cancer
    J H Ku and others
    Eldevier Inc, 2018

  • BMJ Best Practice. Bladder Cancer
    D Lamm and others
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 2018

  • Bladder cancer: diagnosis and management
    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2015

  • EAU Guidelines on Muscle-invasive and Metastatic Bladder Cancer
    J A Witjes and others
    European Association of Urology, 2022

  • Bladder cancer: ESMO Clinical Practice Guideline for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.
    T Powles and others
    Annals of oncology, 2022 Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 244 - 258

  • The information on this page is based on literature searches and specialist checking. We used many references and there are too many to list here. Please contact with details of the particular issue you are interested in if you need additional references for this information.

Last reviewed: 
28 Jun 2019

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