Bladder Cancer - 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
rectal exam, a
prostate exam for men, or a
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 urine test and
urine culture to check for the presence of blood,
infection, and other abnormal cells. A urine test may also be done to look for tumor markers, which can be signs of cancer.
You will have a 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 (biopsies) 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
stage and grade. 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:
Knowing the stage and grade of your cancer is important in choosing the right treatments.
Other diagnostic tests that may be done include:
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.