Is bladder cancer even on your radar? It should be. May is Bladder Cancer Awareness month: Here’s what you need to know about the fifth most common cancer in the United States, and how you can spot the warning signs.
BY JESSICA MIGALA
Bladder cancer is frequently overlooked
Bladder cancer symptoms are subtle, especially in women. Men may see some blood in their urine—it may be pinkish or even red in color. Women get that too, along with painful urination. Unfortunately, the symptoms are similar to getting a urinary tract infection—UTI. (Women may also think they’re simply getting their period.) “Patients are often treated multiple times and for many months for a chronic UTI,” says Arjun Balar, MD, medical oncologist and the director of Genitourinary Medical Oncology Program at NYU Langone Medical Center. It’s not until symptoms get much worse—where you’re seeing much more blood and experiencing pelvic pain and discomfort—that cancer even comes on the radar. “Women will say ‘this feels unlike any UTI I’ve ever had,” he explains. Learn about other common reasons you may get a UTI.