- Posted by jdavis on July 25, 2011
from the Mayo Clinic
Bladder cancer signs and symptoms may include:
- Blood in urine (hematuria) — blood may appear cola colored or bright red in your urine, or may appear in a microscopic examination of your urine
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination
- Urinary tract infection
- Abdominal pain
- Back pain
Different types of cells in your bladder can become cancerous. The type of cell involved in your cancer determines the type of treatments that may work best for you. Types of bladder cancer include:
- Transitional cell carcinoma. Transitional cell carcinoma occurs in the cells that line the inside of your bladder. Transitional cells expand when your bladder is full and contract when your bladder is empty. These same cells line the inside of your ureters and your urethra, and tumors can form in those places as well. Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type of bladder cancer in the United States.
- Squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cells appear in your bladder in response to infection and irritation. Over time they can become cancerous. Squamous cell bladder cancer is rare in the United States. It’s a more common type of bladder cancer in areas of the world where a certain parasitic infection (schistosomiasis) is a more prevalent cause of bladder infections.
- Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma begins in cells that make up mucus-secreting glands in the bladder. Adenocarcinoma of the bladder is rare in the United States.
Some bladder cancers include more than one type of cell.
Tests & Diagnosis
Tests and procedures used to diagnose bladder cancer may include:
- Using a scope to see inside your bladder. During cystoscopy, your doctor inserts a narrow tube (cystoscope) through your urethra. The cystoscope has a lens and fiber-optic lighting system, allowing your doctor to see the inside of your urethra and bladder. You usually receive a local anesthetic or light sedation during cystoscopy to make you more comfortable.
- Removing suspicious cells for testing. During a procedure similar to cystoscopy, your doctor may pass a special tool through your urethra and into your bladder in order to collect a small cell sample (biopsy) for testing. This procedure is sometimes called transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). TURBT can also be used to treat bladder cancer. TURBT is usually performed under general anesthesia.
- Testing your urine for cancer cells. A sample of your urine is analyzed under a microscope to check for cancer cells in a procedure called urine cytology.
- Imaging tests. Imaging tests allow your doctor to examine the structures of your urinary tract. You may receive a dye, which can be swallowed or injected into a vein, depending on the type of test you’re undergoing. An intravenous pyelogram is a type of X-ray imaging test that uses a dye to highlight your kidneys, ureters and bladder. A computerized tomography (CT) scan is a type of X-ray test that allows your doctor to better see your urinary tract and the surrounding tissues.
Once it’s confirmed that you have bladder cancer, your doctor may order additional tests to determine the extent, or stage, of the cancer. Staging tests may include:
- CT scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Bone scan
- Chest X-ray
The stages of bladder cancer are:
- Stage I. Cancer at this stage occurs in the bladder’s inner lining, but hasn’t invaded the muscular bladder wall.
- Stage II. At this stage, cancer has invaded the bladder wall.
- Stage III. The cancer cells have spread through the bladder wall to surrounding tissue. They may also have spread to the prostate in men or the uterus or vagina in women.
- Stage IV. By this stage, cancer cells may have spread to the lymph nodes and other organs, such as your lungs, bones or liver.