What are the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer?

Most people with these symptoms will not have bladder cancer. They can be caused by an infection or stones in the bladder or kidney. But if you have any symptoms, it is important to get them checked by your GP. The earlier bladder cancer is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be cured.

Blood in the pee (haematuria)

This is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. It can happen suddenly and may come and go. Your pee (urine) may look pink, red or sometimes brown. You may see streaks or clots of blood in it. If you see blood in your pee, it is important to get it checked by your GP as soon as possible.

Sometimes blood in your pee cannot be seen and is found during a urine test. This is called non-visible or microscopic haematuria. If you have urinary symptoms, your GP will ask you to give them a sample of urine. They test this for non-visible blood.

Urinary symptoms

Some people may:

  • have a burning feeling when they pee (pass urine)
  • need to pee more often
  • need to rush to the toilet to pee.

These symptoms are usually caused by an infection or an overactive bladder rather than cancer. Some people may need more tests to find out the cause of their urinary symptoms.

Pain in the lower part of the tummy or back

Pain in the lower part of the tummy or back is less common, but it may happen in some people.

How we can help

Macmillan Cancer Support Line
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