Bladder cancer

Bladder cancer

If you’re feeling worried about possible symptoms, your GP practice want to hear from you. Below are the symptoms of bladder cancer and what to expect when you’re getting checked.


The most common symptom of bladder cancer is unexplained blood in your urine – this is usually painless. The blood may be bright red in your urine or sometimes it may turn it dark brown. The blood may not be there all the time, however you should still contact your GP practice if you have noticed any blood when passing urine. 

Sometimes the blood is there in such small amounts that you can't see it, in which case your doctor may find it by testing your urine with a dipstick.

Rarely, if there is no blood in your urine, other symptoms of bladder cancer can include:

  • passing urine very often
  • passing urine very suddenly
  • pain or a burning sensation when passing urine

In most cases these symptoms will be a sign of something other than cancer, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), urinary stones, cystitis or prostate problems.  However, if you are experiencing unusual, persistent symptoms, it’s always best to contact your GP practice to get checked as soon as possible.

In some cases, people may also experience:

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal, back or bone pain

You can learn more about symptoms here.


  1. Nearly 1700 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year in Scotland.*
  2. The majority of people diagnosed with bladder cancer are over 60 years old.*
  3. Around 50% of bladder cancer cases are preventable.*

Getting Checked - what’s involved

Some people put off contacting their GP practice because they think they might be wasting their time. The doctor or nurse practitioner will never think that.  They will listen carefully to what you’ve noticed and ask some questions about your symptoms such as:

  • Is it painful to pass urine?
  • How frequently are you going to toilet?  Do you feel an urgency to pass urine
  • Do you have other symptoms like fever, vomiting or kidney pain?
  • They will also check any relevant medical background such as kidney stones or kidney or bladder cancers.

During a face-to-face appointment, a doctor will usually go on to examine your abdomen. They may also take your blood pressure and ask for blood and urine samples.  Further examinations maybe required depending on your symptoms.

You will be referred to your local hospital if further tests, scans or examinations are required.


*Source: Fight Bladder Cancer

Further help