It’s important to be aware of the potential symptoms of bladder cancer, but it’s crucial not to delay seeking medical attention if you suspect something might be wrong. Consulting your vet for an accurate diagnosis is essential, as early detection plays a vital role in managing this condition.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer: Common Indications: The primary and most frequent sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, although various urinary issues could also be associated with it.
It’s worth noting that initial signs and symptoms of bladder cancer tend to be sporadic rather than severe.
Visible Blood in Urine: Blood in the urine, a symptom of bladder cancer, is typically painless and intermittent. It may appear and disappear over time, sometimes with gaps of days or weeks between occurrences.
In cases of bladder cancer, blood is often consistently present in the urine. While this can signal a potential issue, it’s not an absolute rule.
Invisible Blood in Urine: In some instances, blood in the urine is not detectable to the naked eye. Instead, it’s observed under a microscope, often during a routine urine examination at the vet’s office.
According to the American Family Physician, around 20 percent of people with visible blood in their urine have bladder cancer, and about 10 percent of individuals with minor cysts also exhibit bladder cancer, with a rate of 2 to 5 percent.
Importantly, having blood in the urine doesn’t automatically mean bladder cancer is present. A significant portion of healthy individuals, approximately 9% to 18%, might experience some level of blood in their urine, often unrelated to cancer.
If you notice blood in your urine, it’s essential to consult your vet or urologist. While it might not necessarily indicate cancer, it could be indicative of an infection, kidney issues, stones, or a bladder-related tumor (bladder, prostate, or kidney). Early detection remains crucial.
Irritation During Urination: Individuals with bladder cancer may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Burning, pain, or discomfort during urination
- Increased frequency of urination throughout the day and/or night
- Urgent need to urinate even when the bladder isn’t full
- Involuntary loss of urine (urinary dysfunction)
Remember, these symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions, such as urinary tract infections or an enlarged prostate in males. It’s advisable to seek medical evaluation.
Urinary Obstruction: Feeling obstruction during urination should prompt a visit to your vet. While it could stem from various causes (e.g., an enlarged cyst), a proper diagnosis is necessary.
In general, obstructive symptoms are less common in bladder cancer compared to the earlier mentioned irritative symptoms. Examples include:
- Difficulty starting urination or experiencing weak/interrupted urine flow
- Sensation of incomplete bladder emptying
Persistent Pelvic Pain: Bladder cancer can lead to pelvic pain, felt either on the side or in the central pelvic region, especially when a tumor blocks the urethra.
Unusual Symptoms: In cases where bladder cancer metastasizes (spreads) to other parts of the body, more advanced symptoms might emerge. These can include:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Unintentional weight loss
- Generalized discomfort
Pain may also signal tumor spread, especially pain in the side or the perineal area (between the vagina/penis and the anus). Further symptoms might arise depending on the specific area of metastasis:
- Lung involvement might cause coughing, breathing difficulties, or vomiting.
- Kidney spread might lead to kidney function issues, possibly causing leg or feet swelling.
- Bone pain could result from cancer spreading to the bones.
- Liver or colon lymph node involvement might cause abdominal pain.
In all cases, it’s important to consult a medical professional for proper evaluation and guidance.