Bladder Cancer Diagnosis
If a patient has symptoms that suggest bladder cancer, the doctor may check general signs of health and may order lab tests. The person may have one or more of the following procedures:
- Physical exam - The doctor feels the abdomen and pelvis for tumors. The physical exam may include a rectal or vaginal exam.
- Urine tests - The laboratory checks the urine for blood, cancer cells, and other signs of disease.
The doctor can remove samples of tissue with a cystoscope. A pathologist then examines the tissue under a microscope. The removal of tissue to look for cancer cells is called a biopsy. In many cases, a biopsy is the only sure way to tell whether cancer is present. For a small number of patients, the doctor removes the entire cancerous area during the biopsy. For these patients, bladder cancer is diagnosed and treated in a single procedure.
A patient who needs a biopsy may want to ask the doctor some of the following questions:
- Why do I need to have a biopsy?
- How long will it take? Will I be awake? Will it hurt?
- How soon will I know the results?
- Are there any risks? What are the chances of infection or bleeding after the biopsy?
- If I do have cancer, who will talk with me about treatment? When?