Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?

The following are the most common symptoms of bladder cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • visible blood in the urine
  • hematuria - the presence of microscopic red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine.
  • painful urination
  • urgency - frequently feeling the need to urinate without results.
  • frequent urination
  • pelvic or flank pain

The symptoms of bladder cancer may resemble other medical conditions or problems.

What causes bladder cancer?

While the exact causes of bladder cancer are not known, there are well-established risk factors for developing the disease. Risk factors for bladder cancer include the following:

  • cigarette smoking Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for developing bladder cancer. Smoking causes about half of the deaths from bladder cancer among men, and less than one-third of bladder cancer deaths in women. The disease occurs in smokers twice as often as nonsmokers. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of bladder cancer, as well as several other types of cancer and diseases.
  • occupational exposure Certain occupations and work environments that expose workers to dyes and some organic chemicals appear to increase the risk for bladder cancer. Workers in the rubber, chemical, leather, textile, metal, and printing industries are exposed to substances such as aniline dye and aromatic amines that may increase their risk for bladder cancer. Other at-risk occupations include hairdressers, machinists, painters, and truck drivers (due to exposure to diesel fumes).
  • chronic bladder irritation Chronic bladder infections or bladder stones may be linked to certain types of bladder cancer.
  • age The risk for bladder cancer increases with age. Over 70 percent of people with bladder cancer are over age 65.
  • gender Bladder cancer occurs about four times more often in men than in women.
  • race Caucasians are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as African-Americans and Hispanics. Asians have the lowest bladder cancer rates.
  • personal history of bladder cancer Individuals who have previously had bladder cancer have an increased risk of developing the disease again.
  • family history Individuals with family members who have had bladder cancer are more likely to develop the disease. Research is ongoing to determine specific genetic risks for bladder cancer.
  • parasite infections Infection with certain parasites found in tropical regions of the world, but not in the US, increases the risk of bladder cancer.