Symptoms and diagnosis of bladder cancer

Woman holding her pelvic area

Symptoms of bladder cancer 

  • Blood in the urine (pee) – it may be red, pink or brown in colour.
  • Needing to pass urine urgently.
  • Passing urine more often.
  • A burning feeling when you pass urine.

These symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than cancer, but it’s important to go to the GP and get any unusual changes checked. 

Can I be screened for bladder cancer?

Testing for bladder cancer when you have no symptoms is called screening. There is no national bladder cancer screening programme in Ireland at present. If you are concerned about bladder cancer, talk to your GP.

Diagnosing bladder cancer

Your family doctor (GP) will talk to you about your symptoms and your general health. Your GP may do a urine tests to see if your symptoms are caused by an infection. If necessary, your GP will refer you to hospital if they think you need more tests. You may be referred to a haematuria clinic, which specialises in understanding why there may be blood in your urine. Tests you might have include:

A urine sample check: If you have bladder cancer there may be cancer cells in your urine.

A blood test: Your blood can be tested to see that your kidneys and liver are working normally. Your blood count will also be tested.

Scans: Ultrasound or a CT scans can check the kidneys, ureters (tubes that bring urine from your kidney to your bladder) and bladder.

Flexible cytoscopy: This is performed under a local anaesthetic. A small tube with a light passed into your bladder to look at the bladder lining. The vagina or prostate may be felt using a finger examination. This is because these organs are close to the bladder.

A urologist is a doctor who specialises in treating bladder and kidney problems

For more information

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1800 200 700

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