Bladder Cancer

114. Bladder cancer: Pain and bleeding when urinating?


Bladder cancer self-diagnosis

  1. I have symptoms of frequent urination, where I urinate more than 8 times a day.
  2. There is a symptom of residual urine, which makes it feel like there is still urine left in the bladder even after urinating.
  3. There is a symptom of hematuria, which is blood mixed in the urine.
  4. There is a symptom of urinary pain, which is pain in the lower abdomen or lower back when urinating.
  5. Waking up to urinate more than twice during sleep.
  6. There are symptoms of turbid urine with a foul odor.
  7. There are symptoms of urinary urgency, such as sudden inability to hold urine.
  8. There are cases where urine leaks into the panties.

If three or more of the bladder cancer self-diagnosis items above apply to you, you are suspected of having bladder cancer and should visit the hospital as soon as possible to undergo related tests.



Bladder cancer is one of the three major urological cancers, with a higher incidence in men than in women, and ranks 7th among male cancers. More than 85% of bladder cancer patients are in their 50s or older.
We need to understand and manage bladder cancer as it spreads quickly to other organs and has a high risk of recurrence.



Understanding Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a malignant condition that originates in the bladder, a vital organ responsible for storing urine. It occurs when abnormal cells in the bladder multiply uncontrollably, forming tumors. These tumors can be either non-invasive (limited to the inner lining of the bladder) or invasive (penetrating the deeper layers of the bladder wall).


Causes of Bladder Cancer

The exact cause of bladder cancer is not always clear, but several risk factors have been identified:

  • Smoking: Tobacco use is the leading cause of bladder cancer. Smokers are at a significantly higher risk of developing this condition.
  • Exposure to Chemicals: Certain chemicals, such as those found in some workplaces, can increase the risk of bladder cancer.
  • Age and Gender: Bladder cancer is more common in older adults, and men are more frequently affected than women.
  • Chronic Bladder Infections: Repeated urinary tract infections or chronic bladder inflammation may contribute to the development of bladder cancer.
  • Family History: A family history of bladder cancer can elevate your risk.


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Symptoms of Bladder Cancer

Recognizing the early symptoms of bladder cancer is crucial for timely diagnosis and effective treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Blood in Urine (Hematuria): One of the earliest signs is blood in the urine, which may be visible or detected through a urine test.
  • Frequent Urination: An increased urge to urinate, even when the bladder is not full, can be a symptom.
  • Painful Urination: Experiencing discomfort or pain during urination should not be ignored.
  • Back or Pelvic Pain: Pain in the lower back or pelvic region can be a symptom, especially if it persists.
  • Fatigue: Unexplained fatigue or weakness may occur as the cancer progresses.
  • Weight Loss: Unexpected weight loss can be a sign of advanced bladder cancer.
  • Swelling in the Feet: Swelling in the lower legs or feet can result from blockages caused by the tumor.
  • Changes in Urinary Habits: Changes in the frequency or urgency of urination should be noted.
  • Difficulty Urinating: Difficulty starting or stopping urination may be a symptom of advanced bladder cancer.
  • Bone Pain: In rare cases, bladder cancer can spread to the bones, causing bone pain.


Bladder Cancer Stages and Survival Rates

Bladder cancer can be categorized into different stages, each with its unique set of symptoms and survival rates. Here’s an overview of bladder cancer from Stage 1 to late-stage, along with associated survival rates:


1. Stage 1 Bladder Cancer


  • Symptoms: In Stage 1, bladder cancer is typically confined to the innermost layer of the bladder lining. Common symptoms include blood in the urine (hematuria), frequent urination, and pain during urination. Often, these symptoms are mild and may not cause significant discomfort.
  • Survival Rate: The 5-year survival rate for Stage 1 bladder cancer is quite favorable, with approximately 88% of individuals surviving beyond five years after diagnosis. This stage is often localized and can be effectively treated, leading to a high chance of recovery.


2. Stage 2 Bladder Cancer


  • Symptoms: In Stage 2, cancer has progressed beyond the inner lining but remains within the bladder walls. Symptoms may include more pronounced hematuria, increased urgency to urinate, and pelvic pain.
  • Survival Rate: The 5-year survival rate for Stage 2 bladder cancer is still relatively promising, at around 63%. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can help manage the disease effectively.


3. Stage 3 Bladder Cancer


  • Symptoms: Stage 3 bladder cancer indicates that the cancer has spread to nearby tissues, potentially involving the prostate (in men) or the uterus (in women). Symptoms may include more severe hematuria, lower back pain, and significant discomfort during urination.
  • Survival Rate: The 5-year survival rate for Stage 3 bladder cancer is approximately 46%. While it is a more advanced stage, treatment options like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy can be effective in some cases.


4. Stage 4 Bladder Cancer


  • Symptoms: In Stage 4, bladder cancer has spread to distant organs, such as the lungs, bones, or lymph nodes. Symptoms can include bone pain, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and swelling in the legs due to urinary blockage.
  • Survival Rate: The 5-year survival rate for Stage 4 bladder cancer is lower, around 15%. This is considered an advanced stage, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms and improving the quality of life rather than a cure.


5. Late-Stage Bladder Cancer


  • Symptoms: In late-stage bladder cancer, symptoms can be severe and debilitating. These may include severe pain, extensive bleeding, urinary obstruction, and systemic symptoms like extreme fatigue.
  • Survival Rate: The survival rate for late-stage bladder cancer is the lowest, often below 5%. At this stage, treatment options are limited to palliative care and symptom management to provide comfort and improve the patient’s quality of life.


Diabetes medication causes bladder cancer?

  • The relationship between diabetes medications and bladder cancer is a topic of ongoing research and debate in the medical field. Some studies have suggested a potential link between certain diabetes medications, particularly pioglitazone (brand name Actos), and an increased risk of bladder cancer. However, it’s important to note that this association is not fully established, and the evidence remains inconclusive.
  • Pioglitazone is a medication used to manage type 2 diabetes, and while some studies have shown a possible elevated risk of bladder cancer in individuals using this drug, other research has not consistently confirmed this connection.
  • Patients with diabetes should always consult their healthcare provider to discuss their treatment options, including the potential benefits and risks of specific medications. It’s crucial to have an open and informed dialogue with your doctor to make the best decisions regarding diabetes management and potential implications for other health conditions, such as bladder cancer. Your healthcare provider can provide personalized guidance based on your specific medical history and needs.

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Management and Treatment

If you suspect or are diagnosed with bladder cancer, it’s essential to consult a doctor immediately. Your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate treatment plan based on the stage and extent of the cancer. Treatment options may include:

  • Surgery: Surgery to remove the tumor or the entire bladder may be necessary.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs can be administered to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors.
  • Radiation Therapy: High-energy rays are used to target and destroy cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy: This treatment boosts the body’s immune system to fight cancer.
  • Targeted Therapy: Medications that target specific molecules involved in cancer growth may be prescribed.


Self-Care Strategies

While undergoing treatment, it’s crucial to take care of your overall well-being. Self-care strategies can complement medical treatment:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep the bladder healthy.
  • Healthy Diet: Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to support your immune system.
  • Manage Stress: Stress management techniques, such as meditation or counseling, can be beneficial.
  • Stay Active: Engage in light exercise to maintain your physical and mental health.
  • Support Network: Lean on family and friends for emotional support.


Beneficial Exercises

Exercising during and after bladder cancer treatment can improve your physical and emotional health. Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and yoga can enhance your strength and overall well-being.


Recommended Foods

Certain foods can support your health during bladder cancer treatment. Include:

  • Berries: Blueberries and strawberries are rich in antioxidants that may help combat cancer.
  • Leafy Greens: Spinach and kale provide essential nutrients.
  • Lean Protein: Chicken, fish, and tofu can aid in tissue repair.
  • Fiber: Whole grains and legumes support digestive health.


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Foods to Avoid

While undergoing treatment, it’s wise to limit or avoid:

  • Processed Foods: These often contain additives and preservatives.
  • Excessive Sugar: High sugar intake may weaken the immune system.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol can interfere with medications and weaken the body’s defenses.


Prevention Methods

To reduce your risk of bladder cancer:

  • Quit Smoking: If you smoke, seek support to quit immediately.
  • Protect Against Chemicals: If your work exposes you to chemicals, use appropriate protective gear.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help dilute potential toxins in the bladder.
  • Regular Check-ups: Visit your doctor for routine check-ups, especially if you have risk factors.



Bladder cancer is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment options is essential for effectively managing and, in many cases, overcoming this disease. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and following the guidance of your doctor, you can improve your chances of a successful outcome.



Q: What is the survival rate for Stage 1 bladder cancer?

The 5-year survival rate for Stage 1 bladder cancer is approximately 88%. [Source:]


Q: Are there any alternative therapies for bladder cancer?

Alternative therapies should not replace conventional treatments. Consult with your doctor before considering any alternative approaches.


Q: Can bladder cancer be genetic?

Yes, a family history of bladder cancer can increase your risk. [Source:]


Q: What are the late-stage symptoms of bladder cancer?

Late-stage bladder cancer symptoms may include bone pain, unexplained weight loss, and swelling in the lower extremities.


Q: Is there a bladder cancer vaccine?

Currently, there is no vaccine for bladder cancer. [Source:]


Q: What is the difference between non-invasive and invasive bladder cancer?

Non-invasive bladder cancer is limited to the inner lining of the bladder and has not penetrated the bladder wall. Invasive bladder cancer has spread to deeper layers of the bladder wall and may require more aggressive treatment.


Q: Can bladder cancer be cured completely?

Bladder cancer can often be treated successfully, especially if diagnosed early. However, the outcome depends on factors such as the stage and type of cancer and the individual’s response to treatment.


Q: What is the role of a urologist in bladder cancer treatment?

A urologist is a medical specialist who specializes in diagnosing and treating urinary tract and bladder disorders, including bladder cancer. They play a key role in diagnosing the disease and developing treatment plans.


Q: Is there a link between bladder cancer and other health conditions?

Some studies suggest a possible link between bladder cancer and chronic bladder infections, but more research is needed to establish a direct connection.


Q: Can bladder cancer be prevented entirely?

While it may not be entirely preventable, adopting a healthy lifestyle, quitting smoking, and minimizing exposure to bladder irritants can significantly reduce the risk of developing bladder cancer.


Today’s Quiz

Question: What is the primary cause of bladder cancer?

A) Age
B) Smoking
C) Diet
D) Genetics

Answer: B) Smoking

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