What Are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer?

Medically Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on November 27, 2022
2 min read

The most common -- and often, the first -- symptom is blood in your urine. It may be just a little, or it can be enough to change the color of your pee. It may turn orange, pink, or darker red.

You may see blood one day, but not the next. If you have bladder cancer, the blood eventually comes back. In some cases, you can’t see blood in your urine. Your doctor or lab tech will only detect it with a urine test.

Make an appointment if you have any of these other symptoms:

  • You have to pee more often than usual.
  • Your urine changes color.
  • It hurts or burns when you pee.
  • You feel like you have to pee -- even if your bladder’s not full.
  • You can’t pee, or you pee very little.

If you notice any of these things, call your doctor, but don’t panic. Having these symptoms doesn’t mean you have cancer. You could have a urinary tract infection, bladder infection, or some other less serious condition.

Once bladder cancer starts to spread, you may notice that:

  • You can’t pee, even when you feel like you have to.
  • Your lower back hurts.
  • You’re losing weight without trying.
  • You’re not as hungry as usual.
  • You have swollen feet.
  • Your bones hurt.
  • You often feel extremely tired or weak.

Again, see your doctor if any of these things happen to you. They more likely signal that you have something other than bladder cancer.