What are the tests for bladder cancer?
There are a number of tests that check for the possibility of bladder cancer and the grade and stage of the condition. This then allows the doctor and nurse to consider the most appropriate treatment.
The GP will discuss general health, ask about symptoms and do a general examination. Then if necessary, a specialist, often the urologist, will conduct further tests.
Allows the urologist to look inside the bladder with a tube-like telescope that has a camera at the end – a cystoscope. This test is done under a local anaesthetic. The camera tube is put into the bladder to look for anything unusual. Often further flexible or rigid cystoscopies are necessary.
Involves the urologist inspecting the bladder under general or spinal anaesthesia. The urologist may also take tissue samples (biopsies) from the bladder and, if necessary, growths will be removed. Any tissue samples are then checked to see whether they contain cancer cells and if so, what kind of cells they are.
Intravenous urogram or IVU
IVU is a test to look for anything unusual in the urinary system. A dye is injected into a vein in the arm. The kidneys work to gradually remove the dye from the bloodstream. The movement of the dye is viewed and assessed on an X-ray screen. In many centres, IVU has now been replaced by CT (Computed Tomography) Urogram. A CT Urogram is often of better quality than one produced with X-ray and it also reduces exposure to radiation.
Scans help the urologist to assess to what extent, if at all, the cancer has spread. These are called ultrasound, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans.