Keeping an eye out for these common bladder cancer symptoms can be effective in early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
The bladder in your body is a balloon-shaped organ that stores urine, and it is located in your pelvic region. When cancer cells start to develop inside this organ, the condition is termed as bladder cancer. Since the bladder holds urine until it is passed out of your body, it plays an important role as part of the urinary tract. Hence, developing bladder cancer can have a serious effect on the function of your body (particularly the kidneys and bowel), and if left untreated, it can spread fast to other parts of your body. This disease affects both men and women, although men are more likely to develop it. Also, old age increases your chances of developing bladder cancer as it is more commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 65.
Bladder cancer usually starts developing when healthy cells in the lining of your bladder change and starts to multiply at a rapid pace. This forms a mass called a tumor, which can either be benign or malignant. A benign tumor is one that can grow in size, but will not spread to other areas, whereas a malignant tumor refers to a cancerous growth that can affect other parts of your body. The types of bladder cancer are broadly categorized depending on the extent to which the disease has invaded your bladder wall. The two types of bladder cancer are–
- Non-invasive: This type of the disease is basically a cancer that is still contained in the inner layer of cells in the bladder (the transitional epithelium), and has not progressed into the deeper layers. This type is easier to treat.
- Invasive: This type of bladder cancer means one that has the potential to spread to other parts of your body, including the lymph nodes, liver, and the lungs. This can cause functioning problems of the kidneys and bowel, and is a harder form of the disease to treat.
The good news is that bladder cancer is a treatable disease as in most cases, it is detected in the earlier stages. One of the most common bladder cancer symptoms is the presence of blood in a person’s urine. However, this can also be a sign of some other health problem. There are various other bladder cancer symptoms and signs, and keeping an eye out for these can help in quick diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Here are some of the bladder cancer symptoms that you need to be aware of.
- Blood or blood clots in your urine, which is a condition referred to as hematuria. Hematuria is usually not painful, and it occurs in 8-9 out of 10 people who have bladder cancer, making it the most common sign of the disease.
- A burning sensation or feeling pain when you urinate (dysuria)
- Feeling the need to urinate constantly, even when your bladder is not full
- Having to run to the washroom as the urge to urinate is more frequently than usual, and urination happens in small amounts
- Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
In addition to these usual symptoms, there are some other bladder cancer symptoms that may be indicative of a more advanced form of the disease. These signs include:
- Being unable to urinate, even though you may feel the urge
- Ache in your lower back (around the kidneys) or on one side of the back
- A kind of growth near the bladder, in your pelvis (pelvic mass)
- Inflammation in the lower part of your legs or the feet
- Unusual loss of appetite and weight loss
- Pain in the bones, the pelvic region, or rectal area
Even though these are the usual signs and symptoms of bladder cancer, in some cases people may have the disease and yet not display any of these bladder cancer symptoms. If you notice any changes or anomalies, you should consult a doctor at the earliest. And if you have been experiencing one or more of the bladder cancer symptoms listed above, do not waste any time in seeking medical help to determine the specific cause of these signs.