Bladder Cancer Screening
While screening the general public for bladder cancer is not recommended by any professional organization, some doctors recommend bladder cancer screening for people at very high risk. Risk factors that would justify screening include increasing age, being Caucasian, males, exposures to certain chemicals such as arsenic and chemicals used in the manufacture of dyes, rubber, leather, textiles and paint products, a previous diagnosis of bladder cancer or certain birth defects of the bladder and having received certain cancer treatments. We provide the following in-office services to screen persons at risk for bladder cancer.
With a urinalysis, we will check for blood in the urine (called hematuria). While blood in the urine is often caused by benign conditions such as infections, it can also be the first sign of bladder cancer.
Urine cytology is another urine test to screen for bladder cancer is by examining the urine for cancer cells. Urine cytology is used, along with other tests and procedures, to diagnose urinary tract cancers. Urine cytology is most often used to diagnose bladder cancer, though the test may also detect kidney cancer, prostate cancer, ureter cancer and urethra cancer. Urine cytology can also be used in patients who have been diagnosed with bladder cancer and have undergone treatment to help detect a bladder cancer recurrence.
The NMP22 test is a painless and non-invasive assay, performed on a single urine sample that detects elevated levels of NMP22 protein. Healthy individuals generally have very small amounts of NMP22 protein in the urine. However, the level of NMP22 protein is often elevated in the urine of patients with bladder cancer, even at early stages of the disease. Another promising test looks for telomerase in the urine. Telomerase is an enzyme that is found often in cancer cells. Still, experts feel that more studies need to be done before any test becomes useful for widespread screening for bladder cancer.
Cystoscopy is a procedure used to see inside your urinary bladder and urethra—the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. During a cystoscopy procedure, your doctor uses a hollow scope (cystoscope) equipped with a lens to carefully examine the lining of your bladder and your urethra for tumors by carefully inserting the cystoscope your urethra and slowly advanced into your bladder.
A bladder biopsy is usually performed as a part of a cystoscopy. A small portion of tissue or the entire area of concern is removed and sent to the laboratory for analysis if abnormalities of the bladder are found during this examination or if a tumor is visible. If cancer is present, we will work with you to determine your best treatment options.