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Signs and symptoms

What does the bladder do?

The bladder is the organ in your body that stores and then releases your wee. The wee comes down from your kidneys through the ureters into the bladder through the day and night. It is held in the bladder until it sends a signal to your brain telling you that you need to have a wee. 

It is an efficient system that we never really think about until we get a problem. For most people, the system works very well throughout their lives, with only maybe the occasional UTI (urinary tract infection) that would need a course of antibiotics, to worry about.

However, sometimes a problem can be more serious than this. You are probably reading this because either you or a loved one has been told that they could have bladder cancer. Or there are some worrying symptoms which you are looking to explain. 

Very few people will experience all the symptoms listed here.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please talk to your GP. 

Symptoms of bladder cancer

Blood in your wee

Blood in your wee is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. It can be obvious for example, when your wee is bright red, rusty or pink.

Sometimes it can be invisible and can only be found by your doctor by testing a sample of your wee.

Blood in your wee is also a symptom of many less serious medical conditions so further tests will be needed to make a diagnosis

Other symptoms of bladder cancer

Symptoms can be any or a number of the following: 

  • Urinary infections that don’t respond to antibiotics.
  • Pain when weeing
  • Needing to wee frequently
  • Tiredness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Incontinence
  • Lower back pain

Remember that other less serious conditions can have these same symptoms.

Please see your GP to rule out other possible causes. If there is any hint that your symptoms could be from bladder cancer, you will be sent for more detailed tests.

Read about the tests involved in getting a diagnosis of bladder cancer.  


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We’ve tried to make the information on this site as accurate as possible. Whilst we have support from medical professionals to review the general medical content of this site, please remember that only your medical team can give you specific advice about your symptoms or illness. Fight Bladder Cancer is a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation in Scotland (SC051881), England and Wales (1198773), and was initially established as an unincorporated charity in England and Wales (1157763). It also operates in Northern Ireland.