Bladder Cancer Diagnosis

  • James Mohler, MD, Chair, Department of Urology, is part of Roswell Park's world-class team of bladder cancer experts.

Getting the right diagnosis means getting the right treatment and, ultimately, having better outcomes. We offer the latest diagnostic technology and pathology to diagnose your cancer and assess the extent of disease accurately and timely, putting you on the treatment path that is right for you.

  • Urine tests: Urine samples are tested for blood, cancer cells and other signs of disease. A 24-hour urine collection can also measure volume of urine output, an indicator of kidney function.
  • Cystoscopy: A thin, lighted tube called a cystoscope allows a look directly into the bladder where the physician may see a visible bladder tumor.
  • Biopsy: A sample of suspicious tissue may be removed from the bladder during cystoscopy.
  • Bladder wash: A solution is passed into the bladder through a catheter (tube) to loosen cells on the bladder’s inner lining. This solution is then removed and a sample taken to be examined under a microscope.
  • Blood tests: These assess kidney and liver function.
  • Ureteroscopy: A minimally invasive technique during which a thin, lighted, flexible scope, called an ureteroscope is passed through the urethra, into the bladder, and then up into the ureter(s).
  • Intravenous pyelography (IVP): Dye is injected into a blood vessel, which then collects in the urine, allowing the urinary tract to show up clearly on an x-ray.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) scan: An x-ray machine linked to a computer makes detailed pictures of the urinary tract and nearby lymph nodes.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A large machine using a strong magnet and computer creates a detailed picture of the bladder, lymph nodes and other abdominal tissues.
  • Ultrasound: Sound waves that produce echoes create pictures inside the body.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan: This scan detects changes in the tissues and organs of your body. Unlike x-rays and other imaging tools, a PET scan can reveal how your organs are working.