Bladder cancer patient, 27, reveals first warning signs of the disease

Abbie Jarvis was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 27. (SWNS)
Abbie Jarvis was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 27. (SWNS)

A woman who was diagnosed with bladder cancer at age 27 has revealed the first warning signs of the disease.

Abbie Jarvis, from Warrington, Cheshire, was diagnosed with grade three cancer after a tumour was discovered in her bladder.

She says her first symptoms appeared in October last year and included being unable to walk due to the pain in her pelvis, and having blood in her urine.

Jarvis visited A&E three times due to her symptoms, but doctors told her they did not know what was wrong with her. It wasn’t until she had a cystoscopy that she was given the official diagnosis.

"They told me my biopsy had come back and that I had a tumour," she recalls. "I didn't take it in for a few seconds, I just felt numb and didn't say anything. My eyes were just filling up.

"I had to get my head around it, especially because I was on my own. The nurse was trying to speak to me and tell me about the whole process and it was going in one ear and out of the other ear. She would say certain words to me and it didn't make sense."

Along with her visits to A&E, Jarvis also went to her local GP four times who suggested she may have an overactive bladder, or painful bladder syndrome.

Abbie went to A&E three times before she was diagnosed. (SWNS)
Abbie went to A&E three times before she was diagnosed. (SWNS)

"I went to my doctors around four times in October and then I went to A&E around three times in November - I went through all the emotions," she explains.

"I went and said I had a pain down below and then they either think it's water infection or something else that they will think of first. Especially at my age, I think they just think other things. But I don't think they would ever test me for cancer straight away, even though I had quite a lot of the symptoms."

Before her diagnosis, Jarvis says she had suffered from urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney infections when she was younger, and had surgery in 2019 to stretch her urethra.

While doctors told her that the cells in her body could have been changed which led to the tumour, they aren’t 100% certain what caused it.

Jarvis is now undergoing Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) treatment which is given directly into the bladder and encourages the immune system to get rid of cancer cells.

"They've said it's not spread and has been confined to my bladder, which was a big relief," Jarvis explains. "Because it's not spreading, then I felt like I had a bit of time to try the BCG treatment. I feel like it's gone really well but I won't really know anything until June."

Jarvis is now hoping to raise awareness of bladder cancer among younger people, as most new cases are seen in people aged 60 and above.

Woman having painful stomachache.
Bladder cancer can sometimes lead to pelvic pain. (Getty Images) (athima tongloom via Getty Images)

"When I was diagnosed, the nurse was really shocked because it's really rare - I think I was the youngest person who she helps treat," Jarvis says. "I think it's more common in people over the age of 60 and in men."

Jarvis’ friends are now running the Great Manchester 10k in May to raise money for Action Bladder Cancer UK and to help support Abbie. You can donate here:

Bladder cancer in the UK

According to Cancer Research UK, there are nearly 10,300 new cases of bladder cancer in the UK each year, and it has a survival rate of 46%. However, it adds that 49% of cases are preventable.

It is the 11th most common cancer in the UK, and is more likely to affect men than women. Incidences of bladder cancer are highest in people aged 85 to 89.

Cancer Research UK estimates that 45% of bladder cancer cases in the UK are caused by smoking, 6% are caused by workplace exposures, and 2% are caused by ionising radiation.

Bladder cancer symptoms

The NHS says the most common bladder cancer symptom is blood in the urine, which is normally painless, but will appear as streaks of brown in your urine, or turn your urine brown. However, it isn’t always noticeable and can come and go.

Other, less common symptoms include frequent and sudden need to urinate, and sometimes a burning sensation when peeing.

If the cancer reaches a more advanced stage, the health service says symptoms can include pelvic pain, unintentional weight loss, bone pain, and swelling of the legs.

If you have blood in your urine or any of the other symptoms associated with bladder cancer, you should make an appointment with your GP.

Additional reporting by SWNS.

Health: Read more