Researchers have made leaps and bounds to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and raising public awareness of the signs has been key to this progress. Several forms of cancer feature changes in the colour or consistency of urine. Less frequently, sensations when passing urine are also affected.
The most common symptom of bladder cancer is the appearance of blood in urine, known as haematuria.
“Around 80 out of 100 people with bladder cancer have some blood in their urine,” states Cancer Research UK.
Changes in frequency or urgency to pass urine have also been reported in many cases.
Less frequently, patients complain of pain and burning during urination, but these symptoms are much more likely to be caused by other conditions.
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Symptoms like foul-smelling urine, for instance, tend to indicate that the cause is bacterial rather than cancerous.
Often, the main cause of a burning sensation when passing urine is a bacterial infection in the urinary tract, “particularly if you do not have blood in your urine,” explains Cancer Research UK.
Alternatively, however, a growth of cancer cells in the lining of the bladder may be responsible for the symptoms.
Passing urine may cause irritation of cells that have gathered together to form tumours in the bladder.
According to the NHS, a burning sensation during urination may be a less common sign of bladder cancer, so it’s important to look out for other signs.
Patients also report:
- Frequent urination
- Feeling the need to urinate many times throughout the night
- Feeling the need to urinate, but not being able to pass urine
- Lower back pain on one side of the body.
Nonetheless, it’s important to speak to a doctor promptly if you experience burning or pain in case they do have a more serious cause.
“Talk with your healthcare provider if you experience pain or burning when you urinate, especially if you also noticed any blood in your urine,” advises BladderCancer.net.
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Bladder cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers in the UK, but new diagnoses tend to be split unevenly between men and women.
The condition is almost three times more common in men than in women, with recent studies suggesting an X chromosome-linked gene may be significant.
The chromosome is associated with the suppression of the tumour and is more highly expressed in women than in men.
Differences in male and female sex hormones may also explain the disparity in rates across both genders.