What is Bladder Cancer?
Bladder cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells begin to grow in the cells that line the bladder. Screening tests are done to look for cancer when there are no signs or symptoms. Currently, there is no screening test available for bladder cancer. However, the symptoms of bladder cancer will be reviewed, and some tests might be ordered if bladder cancer is suspected.
Bladder cancer risk factors
The risk factors for the development of bladder cancer can include the following:
● Smoking cigarettes
● Exposure to certain chemicals, including those used in the businesses of making leather, paint products, and rubber
● Exposure to arsenic
● White race
● Male sex
● History of chronic urinary tract infections
● Family history of bladder cancer
● History of radiation to the pelvic area
● Long-term use of urinary catheters
Bladder cancer symptoms
The symptoms of bladder cancer include:
● Blood in the urine
● Frequent urination
● Pain with urination
● Unable to urinate
● Lower back pain
● Feeling very fatigued
● Weight loss and loss of appetite
If your healthcare provider is suspicious of bladder cancer or is ordering tests to evaluate any symptoms that are being experienced, the following are some tests they may order.
Urine tests can be done to look for the presence of blood or other abnormalities in the urine. A urine cytology test can be done to see if any cancer cells are present. A urine culture can be done to see if any bacteria are growing.
A cystoscopy can be done if bladder cancer is suspected. During this procedure, a thin camera is placed into the bladder through the urethra, the opening to the outside of the body through which urine passes. The urologist can look at the wall of the bladder to see if any cancer is present. If there are any suspicious areas, a biopsy can be taken to test for cancer cells.
Other imaging tests may also be done, most likely after the diagnosis of bladder cancer and the healthcare provider is looking for signs of cancer has spread to other areas of the body. These tests can include CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds.
It is important to be aware of the risk factors and symptoms associated with bladder cancer, as well as available screening options. Early detection is key to successful treatment, so please talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.