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Homepage – Forum Forums Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer New Here – It’s Looking Like I Probably Have Bladder Cancer

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    I am a 53 year old female, who has always been in general good health. I have smoked off and on over the years, and currently smoke several cigarettes a day. There is no family history of bladder cancer. I have no known environmental exposure risks. I have not yet gone through menopause.

    Several months ago it was discovered that I have severe anemia. Iron supplements did not improve things, so my family physician said they wanted to rule out colorectal and bladder cancers (since there were no other issues that might cause the anemia) before referring me to a hematologist.

    The colorectal test was fine, but the urine test showed microscopic blood. Because of a couple of other symptoms, increase in frequency and urgency of urination, and a couple of episodes of small amounts of visible blood in my urine, they referred to me a urologist.

    The urologist said that it was very rare for bladder cancer to cause anemia, and that something such as an infection could cause the other symptoms. However, there have been no signs of infection, no fever, and and no pain. I have a CT scan scheduled for January 20th. He scheduled a cystocopy but I got the feeling that these tests were mostly precautionary.

    I had the cystoscopy done on January 3, 2017. I truly believed that they wouldn’t find anything and that I would then be referred on to a hematologist. I was very surprised when he showed me what he referred to as ‘red velvety patches’ inside the bladder. I have no idea how to gauge their size but there were multiple patches that he said he would need to biopsy.

    Without having any prior knowledge of bladder cancer, I initially just assumed that anything potentially cancerous would look like some kind of nasty dark coloured polyp like growth, which is how I have always thought tumours must look like.

    I know now that red velvet patches are commonly carcinoma in situ. And that the symptoms of increased urgency and frequency of urination are consistent with CIS.

    I also know that until I have the biopsy, I do not necessarily have bladder cancer. There are other things that can cause red spots inside the lining of the bladder that can be innocuous. But it seems that they are not normally described as ‘velvety’ in appearance.

    The fact that the urologist said there were other possible causes for symptoms at my previous visit, but did not offer that sort of hope or comfort following the cystoscopy, and knew we’d have to get a biopsy as soon as he looked inside the bladder, is of course concerning.

    I am in general good spirits, I am not a worrier by nature. But I have a strong feeling that the biopsy will show that the patches are cancerous and that the situation will be serious. The severe anemia has been causing fatigue. Lately I have been experiencing general body aches in my limbs. I have not experienced any pain at all though.

    I have not shared my concerns with family so as not to worry them unnecessarily. My husband, who is a worrier, is especially stressed, and all he knows is that there are some red patches they will be biopsying.

    I am not upset at this point, or stressed out really. I am a que sera sera type of person. Hopefully I will not have to wait too long for the biopsy. I feel comfortable with my urologist, and have access to great Hamilton hospitals.

    I am curious whether anyone else has a similar story. And especially would like to hear about other women’s experiences, since I know bladder cancer typically affects men more than women, and that the prognosis for women is lower than that for men. I do know that everyone’s experience is different though. Good thoughts for those of you who are dealing with an actual confirmed diagnosis of bladder cancer. Thank you. 🙂

    Jack Moon

    Hi Heartcat

    Welcome to our forum. You are correct, it is unknown at this point whether in fact you do have bladder cancer. Until the red patches have been biopsied and sent to the lab a diagnosis can not be made. The next step is what is called a “Turbt”. The Urologist will remove the red patches, send samples to the lab and you will then get an answer in about 2 weeks. If the diagnosis is CIS, then another Turbt is usually followed about 6 weeks later to insure all was removed.
    It is important you get a copy of the pathology report after the 1st Turbt. The report will give you 1st hand information on the extent of the samples and the depth of the samples taken which is known as “stage”.
    When caught early, bladder cancer (CIS) can be treated.
    I was diagnosed in 2005 and have been cancer free since 2007.
    Keep your positive attitude and be assured we are here to assist and support you through this process.
    All the best,


    Hi Jack,

    Thank you for the best wishes, and for the information and suggestions, as well as the usual time frames. These are good things to know, should it become necessary. I do not know whether they will voluntarily offer a copy of the report, but it would not have occurred to me to ask for one if they didn’t. Thank you for that suggestion.

    How awesome that you have been cancer free for almost ten years! That is wonderful! 🙂

    Greg C

    Hi Heartcat
    I too am a fairly new member of this family. Congrats on the excellent attitude! The waiting for results can be stressful. Most reports are done within 3 or so days. Your GP will get a copy of this along with the Uro. Check with your GP at 3-4 days after the biopsy was taken to get a copy rather than waiting for the Uro appointment. It gives you some info to go on and allows you time to process and think of any questions you may want to ask your Uro when you get to see him.

    All the Best
    Greg C


    Thanks so much, Greg! I am surprised that someone could get a copy of their test results from their family doctor before an appointment with their specialist. Again, not something that I ever might have thought about. Cutting the wait time to get some information would be wonderful.

    I really take credit for the attitude, thanks, I think some people are just hard wired to worry more and others are not. I just happen to be one who is not. Our teenage son was unexpectedly diagnosed with a congenital heart defect four years ago (he had surgery and is fine now) and I honestly never really stressed about it, I just believed he would be okay. I do feel fortunate though, because I know how hard it can be to feel stressed and worry about things, I see that in my husband who does tend to worry and think ‘worse case scenario’ thoughts.

    I gather you have a recent diagnosis of bladder cancer. I hope it was caught early, that your prognosis is good, and that treatment is not too radical or invasive. All the best to you on your journey! Wishing you ultimate success as a cancer survivor!

    How wonderful that there is a forum such as this where people can come to share, ask questions, and receive information and support.

    Greg C

    Please keep us posted on your journey. We are all in this together and everyone here really does care.
    I used to be more like your husband but with the help of my new friends here that has been alleviated by all the help and support. This is my new normal and I’m ok with that. In a perfect world, none of would be dealing with this. Nothing is perfect.



    Thank you, Greg, that is comforting to hear. And I will share any updates.

    I am glad that your stress has been alleviated. I know it is difficult to just ‘not worry’ when that is someone’s personality. At least my husband is staying away from google, lol! :-p

    You are right, nothing is perfect. And people face all kinds of struggles in life.

    Wishing you the best!



    Hi Heartcat:

    Welcome to Bladder Cancer Canada. I’m sorry that I missed your post earlier. I was diagnosed with urothelial carcinoma (look like pieces of cauliflower) and one patch of CIS in 2008. It was non-muscle invasive, meaning early stage but high grade meaning aggressive. I had surgery to removed the tumours and followed it up with 6 BCG immunotherapy treatments. All was clear until July 2010 when a single urothelial tumour was discovered at my cysto check. I had repeat surgery followed by 15 more BCG treatments. I have been clear since and like Jack I’m down to annual cystoscopy check ups – next one coming this March.

    A good attitude is everything. I sure wish that I’d had someone to talk to back then. I am a worrier by nature, although not so much now and it drove me crazy trying to learn everything about bladder cancer but this site was instrumental in helping me turn my mindset around and putting things into perspective.

    I was 50 when diagnosed and just starting into menopause. Menopause symptoms were stronger with the BCG treatments. However, I rode it out and am glad I did. I’m now healthier and stronger than ever. As Jack says BCG = Bladder Cancer Gone. That being said, you will have to wait for the pathology report before your doctor will determine your next steps. The wait can seem very long but most of us here have found that staying busy is the best way to keep our minds off things.

    I too, at the time was feeling very tired. Before I passed blood in my urine, I assumed that it was from the rough year I’d had caring for my very ill mother-in-law and running after 4 kids that were in 4 separate schools. I’m not a doctor so I obviously can’t refute what yours says, but it makes sense to me if we have any source of unchecked bleeding in our bodies, especially on top of our periods, logically we could become anemic. I didn’t have my period though, as I’d had a hysterectomy in 2002, six years prior to diagnosis. Not to scare you, but fatigue can be a symptom of cancer.

    Positive thoughts and prayers coming your way for a good outcome. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and stay in touch and let us know how it goes. Take care. (((((HUGS)))))


    Marysue, I am so glad to read that treatments have helped you and that you are doing well now! That is wonderful, although I am sure it has been a long road
    for you..

    I am tired or being tired, lol. It is getting harder to get through the days at work, I find, especially if the work is particularly fast paced or heavy

    they have a date for the biopsy surgery, but it’s not until March 15th, which is a long time to wait to find out one way or another whether the patches are indeed cancer. I did have a pre-op this week, and they said they are going to try to get a sooner surgery if a cancellation, etc. comes up, so that is good. I have a CAT scan today, though I don’t know if it always shows anything or whether I will get results from that before the biopsy, or will hear everything at once.

    It is so good to know that you are doing and feeling even better than ever, and that even a diagnosis of cancer can be dealt with and over come. Thanks so much for sharing, and for the good thoughts, I appreciate it.

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