Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Bladder cancer can be a "silent" disease—one that does not have many symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to cancer. Most of these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.
—This is the most common early symptom of bladder cancer. Instead of being clear yellow, the urine may appear brown, rust colored or it may have visible clots in it.
Typically, the bloody urine is intermittent, painless, and present throughout micturation.
Increased frequency of urination
—Urinary symptoms that often accompany bladder cancer include the following:
Sensation of a mass in the abdomen
—As a bladder tumor grows, you may become aware of the presence of a mass.
Pain in the abdomen and/or back
—As a bladder tumor grows and begins to put pressure on nearby nerves and organs, you may begin to feel some pain in your abdomen, back, or side.
—Fever and chills may occur if the cancer has become very advanced.
Decreased appetite and unintended weight loss
—These are also late symptoms of cancer, often suggesting that the cancer has spread beyond the bladder.
Intense fatigue, abnormally low energy
—These feelings may occur as the cancer becomes more widespread and serious.
Swelling in your feet and legs
—An enlarging bladder tumor may put pressure on the veins that return blood to your heart, causing swelling in your feet and/or legs.
—This is usually a relatively late symptom of bladder cancer, occurring when bladder cancer has spread through the body to involve the bones.
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Cecil Textbook of Medicine.
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Conn’s Current Therapy.
54th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2002: 720-721.
What you need to know about bladder cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at
http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/bladder. Accessed December 2002.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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