Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Bladder Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Understanding Bladder Cancer -- Diagnosis and Treatment

How Is Bladder Cancer Diagnosed?

To diagnose bladder cancer, your doctor completes a thorough medical history and examination. You will then be referred to a urologist, a physician who has special training in managing diseases of the bladder.

The first test the urologist may perform is  a cystoscopy. During a cystoscopy, the urologist will pass a cystoscope (a fiber-optic lighted tube) through the urethra in order to view the bladder. A urine sample for cytology will be obtained and a brush biopsy will be performed, a combination approach that increases the probability of an accurate diagnosis.

Understanding Bladder Cancer

Find out more about bladder cancer:



Diagnosis and Treatment



If the doctor sees anything unusual during the cystoscopy, like a tumor, a tiny tissue sample is taken through the tube and examined in the laboratory. The doctor should also perform a bimanual examination to determine if there is a mass that can be felt and whether the bladder is mobile or fixed. Should a tumor be malignant, the treatment will depend on how far, if at all, the cancer has spread.

Blood and urine studies (to look for cancer cells and infection) and imaging studies with a chest X-ray, a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis, and possibly a bone scan will be taken to determine the extent, or stage, of the bladder cancer.

What Are the Stages of Bladder Cancer

These are the stages, or measure, of how widespread the bladder cancer is:

TX. The primary tumor cannot be assessed.

T0. There is no evidence of a primary tumor.

Stage Oa. This is a designation for non-invasive papillary cancer.

Stage 0 or carcinoma in situ. This is early bladder cancer that just affects the inner lining of the bladder and is designated as non-invasive.

Stage I. Here, the cancer has spread deeper into the lining of the bladder but doesn't affect the muscle wall of the bladder.

Stage II. The cancer affects the inside part of the muscles of the bladder and is designated as invasive.

Stage III. The bladder cancer has spread through the muscle wall of the bladder and may be affecting the tissue that surrounds the bladder or the reproductive organs.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

bladder cancer x-ray
Do you know the warning signs?
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
Bladder Sparing Cancer Treatment
Vitamin D
Pets Improve Your Health