how to diagnose bladder cancer

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Cystoscopy. Cystoscopy is the key diagnostic procedure for bladder cancer. It allows the doctor to see inside the body with a thin, lighted, flexible tube called a cystoscope. Flexible cystoscopy is performed in a doctor’s office and does not require anesthesia, which is medication that blocks the awareness of pain.

Common tests & procedures

Urine lab tests. Urinalysis. This is a simple lab test to check for blood and other substances in a sample of urine. Urine cytology. Urine culture. Urine tumor marker tests.

What are the early warning signs of bladder cancer?

Tests to diagnose bladder cancer. If bladder cancer is suspected, these tests may be performed to diagnose the disease: Physical exam; Blood test: Blood samples are used to measure certain substances released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body. An unusual amount of a substance (higher or lower than normal) can be a sign of disease in the organ or tissue that …

What are the chances of dying from bladder cancer?

The first step in diagnosing bladder cancer usually involves a visit to a primary healthcare provider about symptoms a patient has had, such as blood in the urine. 2 The healthcare provider will typically ask about the patient’s symptoms and general health habits, as well as asking about risk factors for bladder cancer, such as smoking or a family history of bladder cancer.

Do you know the early signs of bladder cancer?

Stages and Outlook (Prognosis) After a cancer diagnosis, staging provides important information about the extent (amount) of cancer in the body and the likely response to treatment. Bladder Cancer Stages. Survival Rates for Bladder Cancer.

How do you check for bladder cancer?

A variety of tests may be used to make an exact diagnosis of bladder cancer. Pathology Tests Screening typically begins with pathology tests, where samples of fluid and tissue are examined by a pathologist in a laboratory. The most efficient, noninvasive and inexpensive test is a urinalysis / cytology.

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Feb 28, 2022 · To find bladder cancer, doctors may run tests to see whether there are certain substances—such as blood—in the urine. Tests may include: Urinalysis (looks for blood in urine) Urine cytology (looks for abnormal cells in urine) Urine …

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How is bladder cancer detected?

A sample of your urine is analyzed under a microscope to check for cancer cells in a procedure called urine cytology. Imaging tests. Imaging tests, such as computerized tomography (CT) urogram or retrograde pyelogram, allow your doctor to examine the structures of your urinary tract.

Can bladder cancer be detected with a urine test?

Urinalysis can help find some bladder cancers early, but it has not been shown to be useful as a routine screening test. Urine cytology: In this test, a microscope is used to look for cancer cells in urine. Urine cytology does find some cancers, but it’s not reliable enough to make a good screening test.

What is usually the first symptom of bladder cancer?

In most cases, blood in the urine (called hematuria) is the first sign of bladder cancer. There may be enough blood to change the color of the urine to orange, pink, or, less often, dark red.

How does a urologist check for bladder cancer?

Cystoscopy. If bladder cancer is suspected, most doctors will recommend a cystoscopy. . A urologist uses a cystoscope, which is a long, thin, flexible tube with a light and a lens or a small video camera on the end.

Does bladder cancer feel like a UTI?

Bladder cancer can be mistaken for a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) because many of the symptoms overlap. Patients may experience increased frequency and urgency of urination, pain with urination, or urinary incontinence.

How painful is a cystoscopy?

People often worry that a cystoscopy will be painful, but it does not usually hurt. Tell your doctor or nurse if you feel any pain during it. It can be a bit uncomfortable and you may feel like you need to pee during the procedure, but this will only last a few minutes.

Do you feel ill with bladder cancer?

Nausea and vomiting. Burning or pain when you urinate, feeling the need to go often, or blood in urine. Diarrhea. Feeling tired.

Can CT scan detect bladder cancer?

A CT scan uses X-rays and a computer to create three-dimensional, cross-sectional pictures of the bladder, as well as the ureters and kidneys. A CT scan may be used to see whether bladder cancer has invaded the bladder wall or has spread to other organs or nearby lymph nodes.

What are the signs that something is wrong with your bladder?

Some common signs and symptoms of bladder issues include:Bladder leakage.Pain or a burning sensation during urination.Cloudy urine.Persistent, strong urge to urinate.Urinating frequently in small amounts.Frequent urination (more than eight times during the day or more than two times at night)Urine that smells strong.More items…

What is the best test for bladder cancer?

Cystoscopy. Cystoscopy is the key diagnostic procedure for bladder cancer. It allows the doctor to see inside the body with a thin, lighted, flexible tube called a cystoscope. Flexible cystoscopy is performed in a doctor’s office and does not require anesthesia, which is medication that blocks the awareness of pain.

Can bladder cancer be seen on ultrasound?

How do ultrasounds help detect and monitor bladder cancer? An ultrasound of the urinary tract can help assess the size of a bladder tumor and whether a bladder cancer has spread. Ultrasound is able to differentiate between fluid-filled cysts and solid tumors, however, it cannot determine if a tumor is cancerous.

Where does bladder cancer begin?

Most bladder cancers start in the innermost lining of the bladder, which is called the urothelium or transitional epithelium. As the cancer grows into or through the other layers in the bladder wall, it has a higher stage, becomes more advanced, and can be harder to treat.

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How to diagnose bladder cancer?

Tests and procedures used to diagnose bladder cancer may include: Using a scope to examine the inside of your bladder (cystoscopy). To perform cystoscopy, your doctor inserts a small , narrow tube (cystoscope) through your urethra. The cystoscope has a lens that allows your doctor to see the inside of your urethra and bladder, …

What tests can be done to determine if you have bladder cancer?

Tests may include: CT scan.

Can TURBT be used for bladder cancer?

TURBT can also be used to treat bladder cancer. Examining a urine sample (urine cytology). A sample of your urine is analyzed under a microscope to check for cancer cells in a procedure called urine cytology. Imaging tests.

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What is a low grade bladder cancer?

Low-grade bladder cancer. This type of cancer has cells that are closer in appearance and organization to normal cells (well differentiated). A low-grade tumor usually grows more slowly and is less likely to invade the muscular wall of the bladder than is a high-grade tumor. High-grade bladder cancer.

What is the best treatment for cancer?

Radiation therapy, to destroy cancer cells, often as a primary treatment when surgery isn’t an option or isn’t desired. Immunotherapy, to trigger the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells, either in the bladder or throughout the body. Targeted therapy, to treat advanced cancer when other treatments haven’t helped.

Can you use chemo before bladder removal?

Intravenous chemotherapy is frequently used before bladder removal surgery to increase the chances of curing the cancer. Chemotherapy may also be used to kill cancer cells that might remain after surgery. In certain situations, chemotherapy may be combined with radiation therapy.

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How does radiation therapy help bladder cancer?

Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses beams of powerful energy, such as X-rays and protons, to destroy the cancer cells. Radiation therapy for bladder cancer usually is delivered from a machine that moves around your body, directing the energy beams to precise points.

How do you know if you have bladder cancer?

2. Pay attention to pelvic pain. Inexplicable pain in your pelvis can be a sign of bladder cancer, as can bone pain in and around your groin. Bladder cancer can also be signaled by an abrupt and unintentional loss of weight, and swelling in the legs.

What tests are needed for bladder cancer?

While being tested for bladder cancer, you’ll need to undergo a number of medical testing procedures, including a urine test, a cystoscopy, and a CT or MRI scan. You’ll likely need to give a tissue sample as well, which will be tested for cancerous cells.

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What is the most common type of bladder cancer?

There are 3 types of bladder cancer, but the most common by far is urothelial carcinoma: cancer of the innermost bladder lining. If you suspect you might have bladder cancer, schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor right away.

How does a doctor fill a bladder?

The doctor then uses the tube to fill your bladder with sterile water, enabling them to look at the lining of your bladder with the camera on the cystoscope.

Can you get chemo for bladder cancer?

Get chemotherapy for high-risk cancer. If your cancer is higher-risk or invasive, you may need to receive chemotherapy treatments directly into your bladder. This treatment is often coupled with multiple TURBT (Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor) procedures.

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What percentage of bladder cancer is urothelial carcinoma?

Urothelial carcinoma accounts for 90% of all bladder cancers in the United States. The other 2 types of bladder cancer, Squamous cell carcinoma and Adenocarcinoma, account for 3–8% and 1–2% of bladder cancers, respectively. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0.

Why is there blood in my urine?

Blood could be in your urine for many reasons, only one of which is bladder cancer. Conditions including UTIs, kidney stones, and an enlarged prostate can also cause bloody urine. See your doctor right away if you notice blood or discoloration in your urine.

What tests are done to diagnose bladder cancer?

Tests to diagnose bladder cancer. If bladder cancer is suspected, these tests may be performed to diagnose the disease: Physical exam. Blood test: Blood samples are used to measure certain substances released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body.

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What is the best test to confirm bladder cancer?

Cystoscopy is best used in combination with other tests to confirm early-stage or small tumors. Biopsy: The removal of a small tissue sample for review under a microscope. This procedure is usually performed only if the tests above suggest bladder cancer.

Is bladder cancer a stage or a stage?

Approximately 70 to 80 percent of patients with newly diagnosed bladder cancer have early-stage cases. When diagnosed and treated in the early stages, bladder cancer is generally highly treatable. However, if you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer at any stage, it’s important to be treated as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can improve your chances for successful treatment and recovery.

What is the term for cancer that is present only in the bladder?

Cancer that is present only in the lining of the bladder is called superficial bladder cancer .

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What is superficial bladder cancer?

Cancer that is present only in the lining of the bladder is called superficial bladder cancer. Invasive bladder cancer begins in the cells that line the inside of the bladder, which proceed to invade the muscle wall (muscle-invasive) of the bladder or spread to nearby organs and lymph nodes (metastasized).

Where does bladder cancer start?

Invasive bladder cancer begins in the cells that line the inside of the bladder, which proceed to invade the muscle wall (muscle-invasive) of the bladder or spread to nearby organs and lymph nodes (metastasized). Early-stage bladder cancer rarely grows into the muscular wall of the bladder, and rarely spreads.

What does a stage 0a bladder look like?

In Stage 0a (also known as papillary carcinoma), cells or lesions may look like tiny mushrooms growing from the lining of the bladder. Stage 0is (also known as carcinoma in situ) is a flat tumor on the tissue lining the inside of the bladder.

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How do you know if you have bladder cancer?

Many patients diagnosed with bladder cancer experience symptoms related to urination— visible blood in the urine is the most common symptom—and visit their primary healthcare provider to have their symptoms checked.

What tests are done to rule out bladder cancer?

Based on the results of the physical examination and urine laboratory testing, healthcare providers may recommend that patients undergo procedures that can be used to help make a diagnosis of bladder cancer or to rule out bladder cancer as the cause of the patient’s symptoms. 2. Some of these procedures include physical examination …

What is the most common symptom of bladder cancer?

Many patients diagnosed with bladder cancer experience symptoms related to urination— visible blood in the urine is the most common symptom—and visit their primary healthcare provider to have their symptoms checked. Other patients have not noticed symptoms, but …

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Can bladder cancer be seen in urine?

Many patients diagnosed with bladder cancer experience symptoms related to urination— visible blood in the urine is the most common symptom—and visit their primary healthcare provider to have their symptoms checked. Other patients have not noticed symptoms, but their healthcare provider finds a sign of bladder cancer during a routine check-up …

What is the procedure to examine bladder?

Some of these procedures include physical examination of the patient’s bladder while the patient is under anesthesia, cystoscopy, and transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). Cystoscopy involves inserting a very thin, flexible tube, with a tiny camera on the end of it, into the patient’s bladder to examine the bladder’s inner lining.

What is the procedure called when you take samples of bladder tissue?

If signs of cancer are found, then a procedure called transurethral resection of bladder tumor can be used to take samples of tissue from the bladder to be further analyzed in the lab to confirm a diagnosis of bladder cancer.

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What are the stages of bladder cancer?

There are five stages used to describe bladder cancers. The earliest stage is Stage 0 and the most advanced stage is Stage IV: Stage 0: cancer cells have grown in the bladder lining. Stage I (1): cancer cells have grown through the bladder lining into connective tissue. Stage II (2): cancer cells have grown into the muscle layer of the bladder wall.

Can bladder cancer be detected early?

Detection and Diagnosis. Finding cancer early, when it’s small and hasn’t spread, often allows for more treatment options. Some early cancers may have signs and symptoms that can be noticed, but that’s not always the case. Can Bladder Cancer Be Found Early? Bladder Cancer Signs and Symptoms.

What is staging after cancer diagnosis?

After a cancer diagnosis, staging provides important information about the extent (amount) of cancer in the body and the likely response to treatment.

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Why is it important to find cancer early?

Finding cancer early, when it’s small and hasn’t spread, often allows for more treatment options. Some early cancers may have signs and symptoms that can be noticed, but that’s not always the case.

What is the best imaging for bladder tumors?

MRI is another imaging form that creates very high-quality and detailed images of bladder tumors in addition to adjacent organs, such as the chest, pelvis and abdomen, to locate any metastasis. Ultrasound imaging, without side effects or radiation, is noninvasive and looks primarily at the bladder and kidneys.

What is the purpose of a bladder biopsy?

This is used to locate kidney or bladder blockages, and to determine staging, recommended therapy and whether the bladder cancer has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body).

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What happens if a urine culture fails?

If the urine culture fails to show abnormalities, a biopsy or other tests still may be ordered — especially if there are symptoms of concern.

What is the gold standard for the evaluation of the lower urinary tract?

The gold standard for the evaluation of the lower urinary tract is a routine outpatient procedure called a cystoscopy.

What is the instrument used to see the bladder?

During the procedure, a specialized instrument called a cystoscope is passed through the urethra into the bladder. Cystoscopes are either rigid or flexible.

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What is the purpose of an intravenous pyelogram?

Imaging tests may be used to locate blockages and tumors, and determine whether cancer has spread to other organs. An intravenous pyelogram is an imaging test during which the patient is injected with dye and the radiologist observes with an X-ray the movement of that dye through the urinary tract.

Can bladder cancer be detected early?

Because bladder cancer causes urinary symptoms such as blood in the urine, it may be found early. However, because blood in urine is caused by a lot of conditions other than cancer, urinalysis isn’t a useful screening test for the general population.

Is urinalysis a screening test for bladder cancer?

However, because blood in urine is caused by a lot of conditions other than cancer, urinalysis isn’ t a useful screening test for the general population. There isn’t a test yet that is able to screen the general population for bladder cancer. Doctors may recommend specific tests to screen for bladder cancer based on known risk factors.

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What tests are done to check for cancer in urine?

Tests may include: Urinalysis (looks for blood in urine) Urine cytology (looks for abnormal cells in urine) Urine culture (looks for an infection, rather than cancer) For patients who have symptoms or have had bladder cancer in the past, newer tests that look for tumor markers in urine may include:

Can a cystoscopy be used to detect bladder cancer?

Researchers don’t know yet whether these tests are reliable enough to be used for screening, but they may help find some bladder cancers. Most doctors recommend a cystoscopy to find bladder cancer, and it’s often performed without anesthesia.

How to find bladder cancer without anesthesia?

Most doctors recommend a cystoscopy to find bladder cancer, and it’s often performed without anesthesia. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a long, thin tube with a camera into the urethra to see the inside of the bladder for growths and collect a tissue sample ( biopsy ).

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What tests are used to determine if cancer has spread?

Doctors may also order imaging tests to see whether the cancer has spread. The most common imaging tests include: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the inside of the body.

What is the procedure to remove bladder tumor?

Ultrasound uses sound waves to take pictures of the inside of the body. While working to get a full picture of the diagnosis, doctors may order a transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT), which is a surgery to remove the tumor and muscle near it for testing.

How to diagnose bladder cancer?

If the healthcare provider thinks that bladder cancer may be the cause of the symptoms, the patient may be asked to provide a urine sample for analysis in the laboratory. Several types of urine lab tests may be used to help make a diagnosis of bladder cancer, including: 1 Urinalysis testing 2 Urine cytology testing 3 Urine culture testing 4 Urine tests for tumor markers

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What tests are used to diagnose bladder cancer?

Several types of urine lab tests may be used to help make a diagnosis of bladder cancer, including: Urinalysis testing. Urine cytology testing. Urine culture testing. Urin e tests for tumor markers.

What is the first step in the process of diagnosing bladder cancer?

Visiting a primary care doctor for blood in urine. A visit to a primary healthcare provider is often a first step in the process of diagnosing bladder cancer. Some patients visit their healthcare providers because they have symptoms such as visible blood in the urine or other urinary symptoms.

Why do people go to the doctor for bladder cancer?

Some patients visit their healthcare providers because they have symptoms such as visible blood in the urine or other urinary symptoms.

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What is the purpose of urine testing for bladder cancer?

Urine lab tests to rule out bladder cancer. If the healthcare provider thinks that bladder cancer may be the cause of the symptoms, the patient may be asked to provide a urine sample for analysis in the laboratory. Several types of urine lab tests may be used to help make a diagnosis of bladder cancer, including: Urinalysis testing.

Can bladder cancer be diagnosed in urine?

If the healthcare provider thinks that bladder cancer may be the cause of the symptoms, the patient may be asked to provide a urine sample for analysis in the laboratory. Several types of urine lab tests may be used to help make a diagnosis of bladder cancer, including:

Can you see blood in urine?

Many patients diagnosed with bladder cancer have the symptom of blood in the urine that is easily visible, but in some patients the amount of blood is so small that it is not visible to the naked eye. Urinalysis can detect very small amounts of blood in the urine, which can sometimes help to diagnose bladder cancer at an earlier stage, …

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Medically reviewed by
Dr. Pawan Katti

Your provider may recommend one or more of these diagnostic tests and procedures as part of an evaluation.

Diagnosis involves certain tests and procedures to confirm the bladder cancer.

Common tests & procedures

Cystoscopy: A small, narrow tube with a lens is inserted through the urethra. This allows analyzing urethra and bladder for any signs of disease.

Urine cytology: To detect any presence of cancer cells.

Urogram: To evaluate the condition of kidneys, ureters and urinary tracts.

Retrograde Pyelogram: Provides an X-ray imaging of bladder, ureters, and kidney.

Bladder Biopsy: A sample tissue is collected from the bladder for further laboratory investigations.

Coping and Support

Preparing For Your Appointment

  • Diagnosing bladder cancer
    Tests and procedures used to diagnose bladder cancer may include: 1. Using a scope to examine the inside of your bladder (cystoscopy).To perform cystoscopy, your doctor inserts a small, narrow tube (cystoscope) through your urethra. The cystoscope has a lens that allows your doct…
  • Determining the extent of the cancer
    After confirming that you have bladder cancer, your doctor may recommend additional tests to determine whether your cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or to other areas of your body. Tests may include: 1. CTscan 2. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 3. Positron emission tomog…

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