UTI Symptoms vs. Bladder Cancer Symptoms

Is it a UTI or Bladder Cancer?

Bladder infections and bladder cancer have a lot in common. Bladder infections are the most common type of urinary tract infection (UTI), whereas bladder cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. Estimates suggest more than 80,000 new cases of bladder cancer will be diagnosed this year. A bladder infection is usually more annoying than serious unless it goes untreated and causes complications. Bladder cancer, on the other hand, can be very serious and may even require surgery.

Bladder Cancer Signs vs. UTI Signs

Symptoms of a bladder infection can be very similar to those of bladder cancer, making it difficult to know which one you’re dealing with. Dr. Matthew Kincade with Mercy Clinic Urology breaks down the signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) versus those of bladder cancer.

Symptoms Bladder Cancer Bladder Infection
Blood in your urine X X
Pain or burning during urination X X
Having to urinate more often X X
Pelvic or back pain X X
Foul-smelling urine X  
Fever X  
Fatigue or mental confusion X  

If you notice changes in your urination habits or see blood in your urine (which is not normal), it’s time to see your doctor. Even if you suspect it’s just an infection, it’s important to seek treatment. Infection may spread from the bladder to one or both kidneys. When bacteria attack the kidneys, it can cause permanent kidney damage.

Talk to your Mercy urologist who will carefully review your symptoms and determine a treatment plan that works for you.