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How is bladder cancer diagnosed?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

There are several tests that can be done to diagnose bladder cancer. If you have symptoms, including pain when urinating or blood in your urine, then your doctor will want to run some tests. When it is found early, bladder cancer is treatable. Your doctor will have you come in for a full physical examination. The exam may include rectal or vaginal exams so the doctor can determine if any tumors are present in the bladder and how large they might be. A urine sample will be taken and processed to look for blood in the urine and other abnormalities.

Another test that would enable the doctor to get a better look at the possibly cancerous cells is called a cystoscopy. A very slender tube with a camera and light on it are run into the bladder through the urethra, which is the channel through which urine leaves the body. This allow the doctor to see the lining of the bladder and would even make it possible for the doctor to take a sample of the tissue of the lining to do further tests for bladder cancer (biopsy). Other procedures like an MRI or a CT scan will help the doctor get good visual picture of the bladder to examine the possibility of any tumors.

A urologist will use a cystoscopy to search for cancer in the bladder. In this video, Simon Hall, MD, a urologist at The Mount Sinai Medical Center and director of the Deane Prostate Health and Research Center, explains the procedure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.