Like all other cancers, early diagnosis of bladder cancer is very important to increase the chances of surviving. If the cancer remains untreated while progressing into the bladder, it would eventually lead to severe and even irreparable complications.
Your doctor may do a physical examination, and ask you questions about your medical history and your experience with the symptoms. Physical exam aims to determine the alteration of your health in general, and detect presence of pain and other signs indication bladder cancer. Presence of pain often indicates an advanced stage of bladder cancer. However, clinical symptoms require confirmation with medical tests.
Urine cytology – a cytological examination of urine is important to confirm, in your urine, presence of abnormal cells: r ed blood cells, cancer cells, etc. This test, however, has a low sensitivity.
Cystoscopy – this test allows your doctor to visualize abnormalities in your bladder and perform at the same time a biopsy. The sample taken during the biopsy will be examined under microscope in order to confirm the cancer. During the examination, your urologist introduces into your urethra a flexible instrument called a cystoscope. The cystoscope has a lens and fiber-optic lighting system that allows your doctor to accurately detect anomalies inside the bladder.
Medical Imaging Examination – certain imaging techniques such as CT and MRI of the pelvis can be performed during the diagnosis of bladder cancer. During the procedure, your health care provider may inject a dye into your vein to detect not only the tumor but also lymph node metastases, even in small sizes.
Intravenous urography (IVU) – IVU is a medical technique that allows your doctor to x-ray your urinary tract. Immediately before the test, an intravenous injection of a dye should be done to obtain better image of organs of your urinary system: kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.The basic purpose of this test is to check if the kidneys and ureters are affected by the tumor.
Biopsy – in cases that other tests have confirmed the cancer, your doctor will collect cellular or tissue sample within the bladder to determine the type of tumor you have. These procedures are important not only to confirm the cancer but also its stage.