Exams and Tests
To find out whether bladder cancer may be the cause of your urinary symptoms, your doctor will:
- Do a physical exam. This may include a Reference rectal exam, a Reference prostate Opens New Window exam for men, or a Reference pelvic exam for women.
- Ask questions about your medical history,
- Your smoking history.
- Your possible exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.
- Your family history of cancer.
- Order a Reference urine test and Reference urine culture to check for the presence of blood, infection, and other abnormal cells.
You will have a Reference cystoscopy, a test that allows your doctor to look at your bladder with a thin, lighted tube. The doctor can use the same tube to take small tissue samples (Reference biopsies Opens New Window) of any abnormal areas. The samples will be looked at under a microscope to find out whether cancer cells are present and what the cells look like.
Tests to determine stage and grade
Bladder cancer is classified by Reference stage and grade Opens New Window. The stage is determined by the cancer growth in the bladder wall and how far it has spread to nearby tissues and other organs, such as the lungs, the liver, or the bones. The grade of bladder cancer is determined by how the cancer cells look in comparison with normal bladder cells.
Your doctor finds out the stage and grade of your bladder cancer by gathering information from several tests, including:
- Biopsies from the cystoscopy.
- Reference Computed tomography (CT) scan or Reference magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These help find out if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes, the lungs, the liver, or other abdominal organs.
- Reference Chest X-ray. This finds out if the cancer has spread to the lungs.
- Reference Bone scan. This finds out if the cancer has spread to the bones.
The stage and grade of your cancer are important in choosing the right treatments.
Other diagnostic tests that may be done include:
- A Reference complete blood count (CBC) to find out if you have Reference anemia Opens New Window.
- A Reference chemistry screen to evaluate kidney, liver, and bone functions.
- An Reference intravenous pyelogram or Reference computed tomography (CT urogram) to look for a mass near the kidneys, Reference ureters Opens New Window, or bladder.
Early detection of returning cancer
Bladder cancer often comes back, so it's important to have regular checkups. Then, if the cancer does come back, you have a better chance of finding it early enough for successful treatment.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 22, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology