Is It Bladder Cancer? Detect the Common Symptoms

May 7th 2016

Bladder cancer isn't diagnosed on the basis of symptoms alone. Tests done to diagnose bladder cancer include a variety of MRI or CT scans, urinalysis, biopsies and an intravenous pyelogram. If these tests confirm the presence of bladder cancer, the doctors determine the stage of the cancer to decide how best to treat it. If the cancer is only in the bladder's lining, it may be possible to remove the tumor or treat it with immunotherapy directly in the bladder. If the cancer has begun to spread, removal of the bladder, chemotherapy and radiation may be necessary.

Pain

Abdominal pain is one of the key signs of bladder cancer. Because abdominal pain is also a significant symptom pointing to other diseases, its presence doesn't necessarily indicate a diagnosis of bladder cancer; nevertheless, abdominal pain should never be overlooked. If bladder cancer has begun to spread to other organs, it often heads for the bones, resulting in bone pain and back pain on one side.

Urinary Problems

The most common symptom pinpointing bladder cancer is blood in the urine. Sometimes the blood diffuses throughout the urine, turning it pink, orange or even red. While blood in the urine sometimes appears visibly, in other cases it occurs in small enough amounts that it has to be discovered through urinalysis. Because blood in the urine often appears in early stages of bladder cancer, its appearance sometimes makes it possible to catch the cancer and treat it early. Blood in the urine can also be caused by infection, overactive bladder, an enlarged prostate gland or kidney stones, but it's a symptom that should always be checked out by a doctor.

Other urinary symptoms associated with bladder cancer include pain or burning during urination, feeling the need to urinate frequently, or feeling that need but not being able to act upon it. Urinary urgency and incontinence also occur with bladder cancer.

Appetite and Weight Loss

As bladder cancer progresses, further symptoms of extreme appetite loss and weight loss appear. By the time these symptoms appear, the cancer has probably already spread to other organs. Bladder cancer is most likely to spread to the bones, lungs or liver. Later stages of bladder cancer are also often accompanied by swelling in the lower extremities and the inability to urinate at all.

Conclusion

Bladder cancer typically starts in the bladder's lining. It's often detected earlier than other cancers, as one of its most common symptoms is the hard-to-miss presence of blood in the urine. However, most of the other symptoms of bladder cancer are easily attributable to separate conditions and do not appear to be cancer initially.

Sources

NLM.NIH.gov "Bladder cancer" http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000486.htm
Cancer.org "Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer" http://www.cancer.org/cancer/bladdercancer/detailedguide/bladder-cancer-signs-and-symptoms
Cancer.net "Bladder cancer: Symptoms and signs" http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/bladder-cancer/symptoms-and-signs

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