Bladder Cancer

Diagnosis

A bladder cancer diagnosis can only be made by a medical professional. If a patient has symptoms of bladder cancer, the doctor may check general signs of health and may order lab tests. The person may have one or more of the following procedures:

  • Physical exam -- The doctor feels the abdomen and pelvis for tumors. The physical exam may include a rectal or vaginal exam.

  • Urine tests -- The laboratory checks the urine for blood, cancer cells, and other signs of disease

  • Intravenous pyelogram -- The doctor injects dye into a blood vessel. The dye collects in the urine, making the bladder show up on x-rays

  • Cystoscopy -- The doctor uses a thin, lighted tube (cystoscope) to look directly into the bladder. The doctor inserts the cystoscope into the bladder through the urethra to examine the lining of the bladder. The patient may need anesthesia for this procedure.

The doctor can remove samples of tissue with the cystoscope. A pathologist then examines the tissue under a microscope. The removal of tissue to look for cancer cells is called a biopsy. In many cases, a biopsy is the only sure way to tell whether bladder cancer is present. For a small number of patients, the doctor removes the entire cancerous area during the biopsy. For these patients, bladder cancer is diagnosed and treated in a single procedure.

We care about your feedback. Let us know how we can improve your CancerCompass experience.