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The ‘silent’ symptom of deadly bladder cancer that you might mistake for a UTI

The ‘silent’ symptom of deadly bladder cancer that you might mistake for a UTI
Published 10 months ago on May 09, 2023

But some pesky signs mask as other common condition, like urinary tract infections (UTIs). 

You know the drill: a persistent and urgent need to go to the loo that just won't go away and razor sharp pee.

More than half of women - and a tenth of men - will experience at least one dreaded UTI at some point in life.

Because of this, it can be easy to assume your unpleasant bladder pain in the common bug rather than something even more serious.

Many of the signs for bladder cancer actually overlap with UTI symptoms.

Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, with over 20,500 Brits diagnosed each year.

The deadly condition is more common in older adults, with most new cases diagnosed in people aged 60 and above.

Because the symptoms can be quite vague, around a quarter of all cases are diagnosed at a late stage, particularly in women.

The cruel disease kills around half of all those who have it, according to charity Action Bladder Cancer UK. 

When it comes to cancer, catching it early is vital to increase chances of survival.

And bladder cancer is no different.

In fact, there are very few treatments to help with advanced stage bladder cancer.

However, the disease does have an 80 per cent survival rate if caught early enough.

It's therefore important that people know all the symptoms so they can catch it in its early stages.

According to Cancer Research UK blood in your urine is a common symptom of bladder cancer - as it is for UTIs.

Other common symptoms include:

  • blood in your urine
  • pain in your bones
  • pain in your tummy (abdomen)
  • shortness of breath
  • lumps in your abdomen or neck
  • yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaduance)

Less common symptoms of bladder cancer include:

  • a need to urinate on a more frequent basis
  • sudden urges to urinate
  • a burning sensation when passing urine

When to see a GP

If you have blood in your urine you should visit your GP so it can be investigated.

Having blood in your urine doesn't mean you definitely have bladder cancer.

There are several other, more common, causes including:

  • urinary tract infections  (UTIs), such as cystitis
  • a kidney infection
  • kidney stones
  • non-gonococcal urethritis
  • an enlarged prostate gland, in men

What causes bladder cancer?

The exact causes are unknown, but there are a number of things that can increase your risk factor.

Like with many cancers, bladder cancer appear to be caused by exposure to harmful substances, which lead to abnormal changes in the bladder's cells over many years. 

Tobacco smoke is a common cause and it's estimated that more than one in three cases of bladder cancer are caused by smoking.

Contact with certain chemicals previously used in manufacturing is also known to cause bladder cancer.

However, these substances have since been banned.

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