Signs & symptoms of bladder cancer in women

The signs and symptoms of bladder cancer in women are often overlooked. As a result, while bladder cancer occurs more often in men, it is frequently diagnosed in women in more advanced stages with larger tumours that have often already spread to other parts of the body.

This makes bladder cancer more deadly for women than it is for men. While Caucasians have a much higher rate of this type of cancer than almost any other racial group, other ethnicities should be aware of the signs and symptoms of this potentially deadly cancer.

Common Symptoms

One of the most commonly overlooked signs and symptoms of bladder cancer in women is blood in the urine. This symptom alone is not reason to automatically believe that a woman has bladder cancer. However, according to eMedicine Health, blood in the urine can be a symptom of many ailments common to women, including bladder cancer. Women often experience blood in the urine if they have a bladder infection and certain women may be prone to urinary tract infections, particularly if they have poor bladder habits---for example they do not empty their bladder after sex, hold their urine longer than advised or do not correctly cleanse the labial area.

Advanced Cancer Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of bladder cancer in women can be of particular concern because women are so often diagnosed late in the illness. One of the major signs is changes in urine colour. According to eMedicine Health, urine colour changes according to how much water a person had had to drink and how often they are eliminating urine. However, noticeable changes in the thickness and colour of urine, particularly if it turns unusually dark or reddish in colour should immediately be brought to the attention of a doctor.

Additional Symptoms

Another of the commonly overlooked signs and symptoms of bladder cancer in women is a burning sensation when urinating. As with blood in the urine, a burning feeling alone may not be reason enough to think of bladder cancer. However, as eMedicine Health points out, it is a commonly overlooked symptom and should not be ignored. Normal vacation of the bladder should not result in any feelings of discomfort, pressure or burning.

Increased Risk

Increased risks of bladder cancer in women can occur if a woman has a family history of bladder cancer or related colorectal cancer. Additional risk factors include exposure to chemicasl commonly used in the rubber, leather processing and dye industries. Herbal remedies (aristolochia frangchi) used in Chinese medicine for weight loss can also pose an increased risk for bladder cancer according to eMedicine Health. Another risk factor can be a diet high in fried meats and animal fats.


Knowing the signs and symptoms of bladder cancer in women can lead to detection and treatment of the illness. The doctor that will be treating the cancer is usually a urologist and treatment often includes surgical intervention, chemotherapy and/or radiation. Surgical interventions are often considered only after chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments have been concluded. According to eMedicine Health, another more recent form of treatment includes biological and immunotherapy, which takes advantage of the body's natural immune system responses to fight the cancer.