Signs and symptoms of bladder cancer

Blood in the urine (haematuria)

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

Sometimes blood in the urine can’t be seen and is found during a urine test. This is called non-visible or microscopic haematuria. If you have urinary symptoms, your doctor will ask you to provide a sample of urine. They test this for non-visible blood.

Urinary symptoms

Some people have a burning feeling when they pass urine. Or, they feel the need to pass urine more often or urgently. These symptoms are usually caused by infection 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

This is less common, but it may happen in some people.

There are different causes for the symptoms above, such as infection or stones in the bladder or kidney. But if you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to get them checked by your GP. The earlier bladder cancer is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be cured.

I'd suddenly need the toilet and it had to happen straight away. I went to see the GP and told them that something was wrong. I just didn’t know what it was.


Back to Understanding

What is cancer?

Cancer starts when cells in our bodies become abnormal. The abnormal cells grow and divide and can form a tumour.

About the bladder

The bladder collects and stores urine. It is in the lower part of the tummy.

Types of bladder cancer

There are different types of bladder cancer. The most common is urothelial bladder cancer, which is also called transitional cell carcinoma.