For most people, the first symptom of bladder cancer is hematuria or blood in the urine. Hematuria is either gross (visible) or microscopic.
- Gross or Visible Hematuria: blood can be seen in the urine with the naked eye.
- Microscopic Hematuria: blood is only visible under a microscope.
Irritative voiding symptoms are also associated with bladder cancer, although they can be found with a variety of benign urologic conditions like a urinary tract infection (UTI) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Some irritative voiding symptoms include:
- Frequency of urination
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Passage of tissue fragments in urine is another symptom though not as frequent
The presence of one or all of these signs does not mean you have cancer, but means more that you should be evaluated by a physician. Sometimes patients diagnosed with bladder cancer do not experience any bleeding or pain, therefore routine screening and physicals are of paramount importance.