Tests and diagnosis
Tests and procedures used to diagnose bladder cancer may include:
- Cystoscopy. During cystoscopy, the doctor inserts a narrow tube (cystoscope) through urethra. The cystoscope has a lens and fiber-optic lighting system, allowing the doctor to see the inside of urethra and bladder. Patients usually receive a local anaesthesia during cystoscopy to make the procedure comfortable.
- Biopsy. During cystoscopy, the doctor may pass a special tool through the scope and into the bladder in order to collect a cell sample (biopsy) for testing. This procedure is sometimes called transurethral resection of a Bladder Tumour (TURBT). TURBT can also be used to treat bladder cancer. TURBT is usually performed under general anesthesia.
- Urine cytology. A sample of the urine is analysed under a microscope to check for cancer cells in a procedure called urine cytology.
- Imaging tests. Imaging tests allow the doctor to examine the structures of the urinary tract. Tests to highlight the urinary tract sometimes use a dye, which is injected into a vein before the procedure. An intravenous pyelogram is a type of X-ray imaging test that uses a dye to highlight the kidneys, ureters and bladder. A computerized tomography (CT) scan is a type of X-ray test that allows the doctor to better see the urinary tract and the surrounding tissues.
Staging bladder cancer
Once it′s confirmed that patient is having bladder cancer, the doctor may order additional tests to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer. Staging tests may include:
- CT scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Bone scan
- Chest X-ray
Bladder cancer stages - The stages of bladder cancer are:
- Stage I. Cancer at this stage occurs in the bladder′s inner lining but hasn′t invaded the muscular bladder wall.
- Stage II. At this stage, cancer has invaded the bladder wall but is still confined to the bladder.
- Stage III. The cancer cells have spread through the bladder wall to surrounding tissue. They may also have spread to the prostate in men or the uterus or vagina in women.
- Stage IV. By this stage, cancer cells may have spread to the lymph nodes and other organs, such as your lungs, bones or liver.