What are the symptoms of bladder cancer?

Many 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.

We understand that having any symptoms that could be cancer is worrying. The most important thing is to talk to your GP as soon as possible.

We list the most common symptoms of bladder cancer below.

Blood in your pee (urine)

Blood in your pee is called haematuria. It is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. It can happen suddenly and may come and go.

Your pee 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 haematuria. If you have urinary symptoms (see below), your GP will ask you to give them a sample of urine. They test this for non-visible blood.

Urinary symptoms

You may:

  • have a burning feeling when peeing (passing urine)
  • need to pee more often
  • need to rush to the toilet to pee
  • have difficulty peeing
  • feel like you have not completely emptied your bladder after peeing.

These symptoms are usually caused by an infection, an overactive bladder or an enlarged prostate rather than cancer. Some people may need more tests to find out the cause of their symptoms or because they have repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Pain in the lower part of the tummy or back

Pain in the lower part of your tummy, below your belly button, is called pelvic pain. This type of pain or pain in your lower back are less common symptoms of bladder cancer. But it is important to get them checked by your GP.

About our information

  • Reviewers

    This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr Ursula McGovern, Consultant Medical Oncologist.

    Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.

Date reviewed

Reviewed: 01 November 2022
Next review: 01 November 2025
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum

Our cancer information meets the PIF TICK quality mark.

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