Blood in Urine and Its Relationship to Cancer

Rebekah Kuschmider
Rebekah Kuschmider
November 3, 2023
min read
Technically reviewed by: 
Diagnox Staff
Blood in Urine and Its Relationship to Cancer

Spotting blood in your urine can be a jarring and frightening experience. But it can also be unsettling to learn that you have occult – or hidden – blood in your urine. This invisible bleeding can only be detected by a microscope or urine blood test strips. As a result, you may not be aware that the chemical composition of your urine falls outside the normal range.  

The presence of blood in urine may indicate either harmless or worrisome health conditions, depending on the underlying physiological factors.

Many people immediately assume that the presence of visible or occult blood in their urine is a sign of cancer. While hematuria (blood in urine) is associated with certain cancers, bleeding can indicate other health conditions (such as infections, kidney/bladder stones, ulcers, injury, high-intensity sports activity, etc.). Monitoring your urine for blood can help you notice these problems and seek appropriate medical treatment.

Can blood in urine be a sign of cancer?

Approximately 20% of people with visible hematuria – or blood in urine – and 5% with nonvisible have genitourinary cancers [1] (relating to genital and urinary organs). Here are three types of cancers that can cause blood in urine and other signs you may notice.

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is the sixth most prevalent cancer in the United States and makes up approximately 5% of all cases. This condition typically occurs when a malignant tumor grows in the urothelial tissue lining the bladder tract. Non-urothelial cancer can also develop in other parts of the urinary tract system, such as the renal pelvis [2].

Blood in urine is the most common sign of bladder cancer. This fluid may be macroscopic – visible to the human eye – or occult. Between 0.4% and 6.5% of people with asymptomatic occult hematuria have bladder cancer. Patients with macroscopic bleeding are 20% more likely to have malignancy than those with occult bleeding [2].

Other symptoms of bladder cancer include [3]:

  • Very frequent urination
  • Needing to urinate urgently
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain in the back, abdomen, or bones
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling unwell

However, these symptoms can also be caused by more common disorders, such as an infection or an enlarged prostate gland [3].

Around 90% of people diagnosed with bladder cancer are older than 55 years. Men are three to four times more likely to get diagnosed with this condition than women [2].

Kidney (Renal) Cancer

Kidney cancer is the eighth most prevalent cancer in America. It occurs when tumors grow in your kidneys. Unlike bladder cancer, kidney cancer is often asymptomatic. Many people discover this condition when they have an abdominal scan for another disorder [4].

For people who do experience symptoms, blood in the urine is the most common sign of kidney cancer. You might see macroscopic blood that comes and goes in the urine, or the blood might be microscopic. Other symptoms of kidney cancer include [5]:

  • A lump or mass near the kidneys
  • Pain in your side between your ribcage and hip
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Profuse sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in American men. Around 1 in 8 men will get diagnosed with this condition during their lifetime, and 60% of men who develop prostate cancer are 65 or older [6].

Blood in urine can indicate male prostate cancer. You may also notice these symptoms [7]:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Slow or weak urine stream
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain in the hips, spine, or ribs
  • Weakness or numbness in the lower limbs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

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Other Potential Causes of Blood in Urine

Blood in urine can be a sign of cancer, but most people who experience this symptom have other health conditions. Possible causes include:

  • Bladder Stones. Chemicals in the urine can cause masses inside the bladder. These stones can scrape blood vessels in the bladder, causing blood to enter the urine [8].
  • Urinary Tract Infections. Bacteria can enter the bladder or kidney and cause an infection, leading to hematuria [8]

Additionally, blood in urine can be caused by other factors, such as sexual activity, trauma to the bladder, certain medications, or intense exercise [8].

Detect Occult Blood With Urine Test Strips

Blood in your urine can be a symptom of many conditions, ranging from urinary tract infections to prostate cancer. This fluid may be microscopic, so you won’t know it’s there without testing. Fortunately, you can use Diagnox’s Urinox-10 test strips to monitor your urine for blood. This fast and easy test allows you to detect symptoms early so you can keep a close eye on your health and seek prompt medical treatment.


[1] B. P. Rai et al., “Systematic Review of the Incidence of and Risk Factors for Urothelial Cancers and Renal Cell Carcinoma Among Patients with Haematuria,” European Urology, vol. 82, no. 2, pp. 182-192, 2022.

[2] K. Degeorge et al., “Bladder Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment,” American Family Physician, vol. 96, no. 8, pp. 507-514, 2017.

[3] Cancer Research UK Staff, “Symptoms of bladder cancer,” Cancer Research UK. [Accessed November 1, 2023].

[4] Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Staff, “Kidney Cancer (Renal Cell Cancer),” Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. [Accessed November 1, 2023].

[5] Cancer Research UK Staff, “Symptoms of kidney cancer,” Cancer Research UK. [Accessed November 1, 2023].

[6] American Cancer Society Staff, “Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer,” American Cancer Society. [Accessed November 1, 2023].

[7] American Cancer Society Staff, “Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer,” American Cancer Society. [Accessed November 1, 2023].

[8] Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Staff, “UTI or Cancer: What To Know About Blood in the Urine,” Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. [Accessed November 1, 2023].

About the Author
Rebekah Kuschmider

Rebekah has been writing about culture, health, and politics since 2010. She has a masters degree in Arts Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University. Her work has been seen at WebMD, The Candidly, MedicineNet, YourTango, Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, Salon, Role Reboot, The Good Men Project, SheSaid, Huffington Post, and Mamamia. She is a former cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union. Rebekah lives in Maryland with her husband, two kids, and a dog who sheds a lot.

About the Reviewer
This blog was
Technically reviewed by: 
Diagnox Staff

Diagnox Staff consists of a multidisciplinary team of scientists, content writers, and healthcare professionals with an expertise to create and review high-quality, informative, accurate, and easy-to-understand content for both professionals and everyday readers. Our staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the credibility and authenticity of the information, reviewing them independently and verifying them by various scientific and technical sources to ensure accuracy. Our review team believes in delivering knowledge free from bias to improve public health and well-being.

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