Tests a Urologist May Order to Diagnose Bladder Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 81,180 new cases of bladder cancer in the United States in 2022. While these figures are not as steep as those of skin cancer and breast cancer, the disease is strikingly more prevalent among men than women: 61,700 men and 19,480 women will get a bladder cancer diagnosis this year.
There is currently no standard or reliable screening test for bladder cancer. One of the best ways to reduce your likelihood of developing the disease is to work with your urologist, who can help you know your risk and provide you with appropriate dietary and lifestyle recommendations. It also helps to exercise vigilance, and see your urologist if you experience back pain, hematuria (having blood in your urine), painful and/or frequent urination, and a feeling as though your bladder is not emptying completely, as these are potential signs of bladder cancer.
Your urologist can order the necessary tests to rule out or confirm bladder cancer. Discussed below are the types of tests your urologist may order to come up with a diagnosis.
How Bladder Cancer Is Diagnosed
There are a few different tests your urologist will use to diagnose bladder cancer:
- Urine cytology– This is the most common test for bladder cancer, and it can detect signs of abnormal cells in your urine. This method involves your urologist obtaining a sample of your urine by letting you urinate into a sterile cup, or inserting a catheter into your urethra and moving it up to your bladder.
- Cystoscopy– This involves your urologist inserting a long, thin, flexible tube with a camera on its tip (cystoscope) into your urethra to examine it and your bladder for signs of cancer. During the procedure, your urologist may pass a special tool through the cystoscope and into your bladder to perform a biopsy.
- Medical imaging tests– Your urologist may also order an imaging test, such as a computerized tomography (CT) urogram, to examine the structures of your urinary tract for abnormalities.
Once your urologist confirms a diagnosis, he may then order additional tests (e.g., bone scan, chest X-ray, MRI, and/or CT scan) to determine the extent of your cancer (i.e., whether it has spread to other areas of your body). Your urologist will assign your cancer a stage based on the information he gleans from these tests.
Urologist in Concord and Charlotte, NC
It can be understandably difficult for men to seek professional help, especially when it comes to managing their genitourinary health. That is why urologists like Dr. Richard Natale here at Carolina Urology Partners exist—to bring down such barriers by sharing useful information to help patients better understand the importance of being proactive and to empower them to make intelligent health decisions.