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Recognizing Bladder Cancer Symptoms


Bladder cancer occurs in the urinary bladder, the organ where urine is collected from the kidneys. It can develop in several areas but most often starts in the lining of the bladder.

If you or a loved one has symptoms of bladder cancer in the Bay Area, visit Dignity Health for expert care. Our oncologists provide quality preventive care and use the latest diagnostic equipment and methods for early detection. Use our online search tool and Find a Doctor today.

Symptoms of Bladder Cancer (Early & Later Stages)

While many cancers don’t have recognizable signs early on, there are specific symptoms of bladder cancer in the early stages. They may come and go over a period of weeks or months, and include: 

  • Weak urine stream
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Blood in your urine causing it to appear orange, pink, or rusty
  • Trouble urinating
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Urinating frequently

Since these symptoms are often seen in other health conditions, you should talk with your doctor for the right diagnosis.

In the later stages of the disease, signs of bladder cancer can include: 

  • Being unable to urinate
  • Swollen feet
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Bone pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

If you have one or more of these symptoms, meet with an expert at Dignity Health.

Bladder Cancer Diagnosis at Dignity Health

With regular visits and screenings, your doctor may be able to diagnose bladder cancer in the early stages, before signs and symptoms appear. This is when the disease is most treatable.

Your doctor may perform a physical exam and review your medical history before recommending one or more of these tests to further assess your symptoms: 

  • Urine test. This may include urinalysis, urine culture, and tumor markers.
  • Imaging exam. Ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can create detailed pictures of your bladder.
  • Cystoscopy. Your doctor inserts a thin tube into your bladder to examine the lining and take a tissue sample.

Once you receive a diagnosis, your doctor will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that fits your preferences and needs.

Doctors at Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area diagnose bladder cancer symptoms in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.