Bladder cancer occurs when there is an abnormal growth of tissue within the bladder. In the UK around 10,000 are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year, making it the 10th most common cancer in the UK. The average age of patients affected is 73, with 9 out of 10 patients being over the age of 55.

Bladder cancer can be put into two different categories:

  • Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer – this is the most common type and easier to treat
  • Muscle-invasive bladder cancer – this is less common, occurring when the cancer spreads to the muscles within the bladder. This form of cancer can spread more easily

The exact cause is unknown; however, it is thought to be linked to exposure to a harmful substance for a long period of time e.g. smoking tobacco cigarettes.


Visible blood in urine is one of the most common signs that someone has cancer of the bladder. The medical name for this condition is haematuria. Haematuria can present in different ways, the urine may have a brown colour to it or there may be noticeable streaks of blood in the urine.

Other associated symptoms:

  • Sudden urges to urinate
  • Needing to go to the toilet more often
  • Discomfort while urinating
  • Pain around the pelvis or back
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Visible swelling in the legs

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is a good idea to go and see your GP. In most cases they will ask for your family history, a list of symptoms that you have been experiencing, a physical examination to feel for tender areas and in most cases a urine and blood test to pick up any abnormalities.

If you are worried, contact our expert team at our bladder clinic today.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.