Symptoms and diagnosis of bladder cancer
The symptoms of bladder cancer can include:
- Blood in the urine – either brown or red in colour.
- Needing to pass urine urgently.
- Passing urine more often.
- A burning feeling when you pass urine.
These symptoms can also be due to complaints other than bladder cancer. If you have any of these symptoms you should go to see your GP and tell them about your symptoms.
Testing for bladder cancer when you have no symptoms is called screening. There is no national bladder cancer screening programme in Ireland or anywhere else in the world. If you are worried about bladder cancer, contact the Cancer Nurseline Freefone 1800 200 700 or speak to your GP.
First, visit your family doctor (GP) if you are worried about any symptoms. If your doctor has concerns about you, he or she will refer you to a hospital. There you will see a specialist who may arrange more tests. You may need some of the following tests:
- A urine check.
- A rectal exam - a check of the back passage.
- A vaginal check for women.
- Cystoscopy - a thin tube with a camera is used to look inside your bladder.
IVP (a special X ray which shows your kidneys and bladder).
For further information please read the leaflet Understanding Cancer of the Bladder.
Grading and Staging of Bladder Cancer
What are the grades of bladder cancer?
- Grade 1 – low grade
- Grade 2 – moderate grade
- Grade 3 – high grade
Low grade cancer cells grow slowly and are less likely to spread. High grade cells grow faster and are more likely to spread. Grade 2 is in between.
What are the stages of bladder cancer?
Your doctor may arrange some tests to stage the cancer. Not all people with bladder cancer will need staging tests. Staging means finding out the size of the tumour and whether it has spread anywhere else in your body. Staging helps your doctor to plan the best treatment for you. It refers to how deeply the tumour has grown into your bladder, whether there is cancer in your lymph nodes, and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
For more information on bladder cancer staging and grading see our booklet Understanding Cancer of the Bladder.