Bladder cancer attacks the lining of the bladder and causes tumors inside the organ. The exact cause of the disease isn't known but has several risk factors, including taking Actos for more than a year. While being diagnosed with bladder cancer can be frightening, treatment methods and early identification of the cancer are improving, as is the prognosis.
To make an accurate bladder cancer diagnosis, your doctor must first have the right information to begin testing. For this to happen, mention any abnormal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, blood in the urine, painful urination or urine leakage. These may be signs of bladder cancer.
If you exhibit one or more of these bladder cancer symptoms, your doctor can then order tests to determine the problem. These tests may include a physical exam (including a rectal and pelvic analysis) and an abdominal CT scan. Your doctor may also order a cytoscopy, which examines the inside of the bladder with a small camera. During the cytoscopy, your doctor may also ask to biopsy your bladder, which involves cutting off a small piece of tissue for testing. Your urine may also be analyzed.
Once the tests have been performed, your doctor will determine if your bladder contains cancer cells. If it does, he or she will likely know what caused the formation of papillary tumors. Said tumors may appear attached to stalks with a wart-like appearance. Or they may appear as sessile tumors, which are less common and require more invasive treatment.
As part of your diagnosis, your doctor will also try to determine the stage of your bladder cancer. The lowest stage, level zero, involves non-invasive tumors in your bladder lining. Stage III cancer has tumors that reach into the tissue surrounding your bladder. Once your diagnosis has been made, you will be given a treatment plan and a cancer prognosis. Again, the earlier the cancer is caught, the better the survival rate.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, give one of our Patient and Family Advocates a call or request that they contact you. The service is free, and their experience and expertise can help you find the answers you need. More detailed information about symptoms and testing is also available in our free the book, "100 Questions and Answers about Bladder Cancer."