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While men are generally more likely than women to get bladder cancer, women diagnosed with this condition tend to have lower survival rates than men. Knowing the typical symptoms of bladder cancer in women can help a person recognize a potential problem and seek help earlier. Blood in the urine is one of the most common symptoms, but it is not always visible, so women may have to rely on additional signs of bladder cancer. A burning sensation during urination may be present, as may increases in both the frequency and urgency of urination. Symptoms of late-stage bladder cancer in women include flank pain, a distended bladder and discomfort in the bones or other parts of the body.
The main symptom of abnormal cells in the bladder is blood in the urine. In some cases, there is enough blood to turn the urine pink or orange, making it obvious that something is wrong. Other times, a woman may never see the blood in her urine, which can result in a delayed diagnosis of bladder cancer. Despite the fact that the blood is not easily visible, it can be detected by a urine test at the doctor's office. This symptom is called microscopic hematuria.
In general, the other symptoms of bladder cancer in women are similar to the signs of a bladder infection, except they do not disappear with antibiotics. One example is a burning sensation during urination, which is often felt whether there is a malignant tumor present or just a bacterial infection. The urge to urinate may be felt more often than usual, even though the amount of urine may not have changed, leading to frequent yet short sessions in the restroom. Some women also notice an increase in urgency, meaning they cannot wait too long to relieve themselves after the urge hits.
Some symptoms of bladder cancer indicate the disease is rather advanced. For instance, some women may have a swollen bladder that is caused by a malignant tumor blocking the neck of the bladder. Flank pain may also occur if the urine is unable to flow from the kidney to the bladder as the result a tumor blocking its way. Additionally, some women may notice pain in other areas of the body, such as the bones, once the cancer has spread. To avoid enduring these signs of late-stage bladder cancer in women, women are advised to see a doctor if they notice the initial symptoms, so they can get tests done to determine whether the issue is cancer or a simple infection.