There are early signs of bladder cancer that you need to be aware of and act on time in case you notice them; this is essential for you to survive it.
Bladder cancer is not excessively frequent, however, due to its remarkable symptoms, it does not usually lead to metastasis, having a relatively favorable prognosis.
The early signs of bladder cancer are related to a tumor that has not yet metastasized. Thus, they are related to the occupation of space inside the bladder. This causes dysfunction (poor function) of this organ.
They also have to do with the ulceration of this cancerous mass, generating bleeding. It is common for tumors of all kinds to ulcerate. So, in summary, the early signs of bladder cancer are grouped into:
- Change in urinary habits
- Presence of blood in the urine
The early signs of bladder cancer
Blood in the urine
Hematuria is the medical term for “blood in urine”. As explained above, it is common for tumors of all types to ulcerate. This means that erosions appear on its surface, many times large. These lesions also reach the blood vessels that supply the tumor; this is how the bleeding appears.
Hematuria is evident in 70% of patients with bladder cancer. But the amount of blood is very variable from one case to another. It can be, on the one hand, very abundant, dyeing the urine from red to pale pink through orange.
Other times the bleeding may be minimal, and can only be observed by urinalysis. This is called microhematuria, and is more frequent than macrohematuria (the opposite case). However, the amount of blood in the urine is not related to the size of the tumor.
Hematuria may or may not be associated with pain. The most frequent, especially in the early stages, is that no pain appears. Hematuria may also disappear for a while, but if it is a bladder cancer, it will eventually bleed again.
Change in urinary habits
This set of symptoms is produced by the fact that there is a tumor mass compressing the bladder from within. Being occupied by a foreign body, the different structures that make up the bladder are unable to perform their functions correctly.
A symptom of bladder dysfunction is, for example, frequent urination. It is the medical term to designate the fact of urinating more frequently than usual, without changes in fluid intake. Another similar symptom is urinary urgency: the feeling that you need to urinate immediately, even when the bladder is not completely full.
Tenesmus may also appear, which is the feeling of wanting to urinate or defecate right after having done so. As if all the urine that had accumulated had not been expelled. Incontinence may also appear, with inevitable urine leaks. Finally, the individual may notice that their urine flow is weak or that when they urinate they feel pain or burning.
Symptoms of more advanced bladder cancer
When developing, bladder cancer can invade adjacent structures (uterus, prostate, vagina). Ultimately it can generate metastases. A preferred destination of metastasis in bladder cancer is the bones, but also the lungs, for example.
So, in a more advanced bladder cancer, abdominal pain will occur (due to invasion of structures). Fatigue and weight loss will also appear (as general symptoms of cancer). In case of metastasis, for example, bone pain will appear (for example, in the lower back area).
Other related conditions
It is necessary to bear in mind that the first symptoms of bladder cancer are highly nonspecific. This means that they can also appear in a wide variety of urinary tract pathologies.
An example of the above may be urinary tract infection, during which hematuria, urinary urgency, painful urination or frequent urination, etc. also appear. Urinary urgency, incontinence, loss of strength in the urinary flow, among other symptoms may also appear in a prostate hyperplasia.
The association of any of the above symptoms may also have to do with nonspecific irritation of the bladder. In addition, urination is usually affected by psychological reasons, resulting in psychosomatic symptoms. An example of this is the frequent urination that appears under the influence of nerves or stress.
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