What Are Early Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?

The most common early symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, which can give it a pink, orange or red coloration, states the American Cancer Society. Because this symptom appears very early and is easy to spot, doctors usually diagnose bladder cancer in its early stages. Other potential early symptoms include pain during urination, increased urgency in urination and increased frequency of urination.

Symptoms of more advanced bladder cancer only occur after the tumor grows big enough or spreads to other parts of the body, explains the American Cancer Society. These can include lower back pain on one side, swelling in the feet, inability to urinate, loss of appetite and bone pain.

Bladder cancer most commonly starts in the cells that line the inside of the bladder, states Mayo Clinic. It can occur in anyone, but is most common in older adults. White people, smokers, men and people with a family history of cancer all have a higher chance of contracting bladder cancer. Exposure to chemicals such as arsenic may increase risk, as does taking the diabetes medication pioglitazone. Previous cancer treatment or a history of repeated urinary tract infections or other chronic bladder inflammation also increases the risk of bladder cancer.