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Urinary Tract Cancers

Blood in Urine

05/21/2007

Question:

My sister recently went to the doctor due to a simple cold. After taking a urine test, the doctor found blood in her urine. The doctor is doing more tests, but is concerned with possible bladder cancer. Is this a common symptom for another diagnosis? I am very concerned about her. She is young (33) and does not smoke. The doctor aksed her if she had been around smokers her whole life or was a smoker herself. She seems healthy and has not had any other symptoms. I have never heard of bladder cancer before? Do you have any more info on my concerns? Thanks!

Answer:

Although our greatest concern in patients with blood in the urine is bladder cancer, it is unlikely that your sister has that as the cause of microscopic hematuria. However, the testing that is necessary to rule-out bladder or other causes of blood in the urine are benign (IVP or CT scan without and with intravenous contrast plus cystoscopy) and, in general, we do these tests at the time of first presentation to be safe. The probability of bladder cancer is very low, but the consequences of ignoring blood in the urine are severe. Benign hematuria (not caused by any urologic disease) is relatively common and once the above tests have been completed, no further follow-up is needed so long as the patient is asymptomatic and no gross (visible) blood in the urine is seen.

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Response by:

James F Donovan, Jr, MD James F Donovan, Jr, MD
Professor of Surgery
Director of UC Urology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati