Tests and procedures
Here is a list and a short explanation of some of the tests you might have when dealing with a diagnosis of bladder cancer.
Medical history and physical exam:
Your doctor will ask you about your medical history to check for risk factors and symptoms and do a physical examination.
A cystoscope is a thin tube with a lens and a light. The doctor puts it into the bladder through the urethra. With the cystoscope the doctor can see the inside of the bladder. This procedure is one of the best tools a Urologist has to diagnosis bladder cancer.
In this test, urine or cells "washed" from the bladder during cystoscopy are sent to the lab to see if cancer cells (or pre-cancer cells) are present. Not finding cancer on this test doesn't always mean you are cancer-free.
A sample of your urine is sent to the lab to see if you might have aninfection. An infection can sometimes cause symptoms that look like bladder cancer.
Urine tumor marker tests:
These tests look for certain substances released by cancer cells into the urine. Not finding cancer on this test doesn't always mean you are cancer-free.
TURB Transurethral resection bladder cancer tumor:
This is a procedure done while they use drugs so you are deeply asleep. Using a scope like the cystoscopy they can view the bladder, remove any tumors and do biopsies.
When a piece of tissue is removed to see if it contains cancer cells, the test is called a biopsy. This test can tell if cancer is present, what type of bladder cancer it is, and how deep it has gone into the bladder wall.
Imaging tests are done to allow your doctor to "see" your bladder and other organs.
Intravenous pyelogram (IVP):
An IVP is an x-ray of the urinary system taken after putting a special dye into a vein. The dye passes into the ureters and bladder. This more clearly outlines these organs on x-rays and helps find tumors.
A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put into the bladder or into a ureter. Then, a dye is put through the catheter to make the lining of the bladder, ureters, and kidneys easier to see on x-rays.
Computed tomography (CT):
The CT scan is a special kind of x-ray that gives detailed pictures of your internal organs. During the test, the table slides in and out of the scanner, a ring-shaped machine that surrounds the table.Before any pictures are taken, you may be asked to drink a liquid dye that helps to better outline your organs, or you may also need an IV line through which you will get a different kind of contrast dye.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):
MRI scans take longer than CT scans–often up to an hour. Also, for most MRI scans you will be inside a tight tube-like machine.The machine makes a thumping noise that you may find annoying. Some places will give you earplugs to help block this noise out.
Ultrasound uses sound waves to make pictures of your insides. It can help show the size of a bladder cancer and whether it has spread beyond the bladder. It can also be used to look at the kidneys. This is one of the easiest tests you can have you simply lie on a table while a kind of wand is placed on the skin over the part of your body being looked at.
For this test, small amount of a radioactive substance is put into a vein; this substance allows the doctors to see the bones. You then lie still as the machine does the scan this can take longer than at CT or and x-ray.