Bladder cancer may not be on your radar, despite the fact that you are cautious about getting regular breast exams, skin checks or pap smears. A somewhat popular fact is that bladder cancer is far more common among men than women, with those above 65 being the majority cases.
Regardless of these stats, you should keep an eye out for the symptoms. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer at an advanced stage due to the fact, that they most likely won’t be alert for any early symptoms.
The better you know the symptoms, the sooner your diagnostics and the more advanced your prognosis. These are some warning signs to look for.
1. Blood in the urine
This is the most common early symptom of bladder cancer. However, because it is infrequent and painless, it is easily overlooked. Another reason for this is because the symptoms can be easily connected with menstruation or menopause.
Don’t be alarmed, blood in the urine does not always mean bladder cancer but it is important to see your doctor in order to know the cause.
2. UTI-like symptoms
The symptoms of a urinary tract infection are very similar to those of bladder cancer. These symptoms include pain with urination, frequency of urination, urgency to urinate or urinary incontinence.
See your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these pee-related problems. Also, if your UTI symptoms don’t go away even after antibiotics, talk to your doctor.
3. Unexplained pain
More advanced cancers of the bladder often come along with pain. Look out for pain in the pelvis, abdomen or flank area. It is also possible to develop pain in the bones if the cancer has spread to those regions.
Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these, particularly if they are accompanied by the aforementioned symptoms.
4. Loss of appetite
Decreased appetite is a common symptom of cancer; bladder cancer included. Weight loss and fatigue are often associated with cancer that has grown or spread. But don’t jump into conclusion just yet, there can be other reasons for loss of appetite. Whatever the case, talk to your doctor if it persists.
Evidence has shown that about 50 percent of women diagnosed with bladder cancer are smokers. Though this is technically not a symptom, smoking is number one on the list of biggest risk factors for bladder cancer. If you notice any of the four symptoms and you smoke, tell your doctor immediately.
The temptation to chalk up the symptoms to UTI or spotting is existent. Late detection is very common in women as it is often overlooked and this can make it harder to treat.
Only your doctor can truly know the reason behind your symptoms, whether it’s a minor infection or something serious. Always remember, bladder cancer is easier to treat, if it diagnosed at an early stage so keep at it, your trips to your doctor’s office won’t be in vain.