Bladder cancer often begins in the cells of the bladder and causes tumors inside the organ. While it typically strikes older adults, bladder cancer can occur in anyone, including those that are treating their diabetes with the medication known as Actos. Understanding the methods used to diagnosis the disease are paramount to providing the best treatment.
Symptoms of bladder cancer are often nonspecific, meaning that they coincide with a multitude of other medical conditions. One should be aware of a presence of blood in their urine, changes in urination habits, and pain. It is vital to present these signs to a medical professional so that he or she can screen you for bladder cancer.
Physicians rely on many tests to diagnosis cancer. Most include a physical exam (comprising of a rectal and pelvic analysis), and an abdominal CT scan. Your doctor may also order a cystoscopy, which examines the inside of the bladder for abnormalities using a small camera. During the cystoscopy, your doctor may request to have your bladder biopsied, which involves removing cells or tissue for further testing. In addition, he or she may have your urine analyzed.
Once the tests have been performed, your physician will determine if your bladder contains cancer cells. If that is the case, he or she will likely order a series of further tests to examine the stage and position of the cancer.
Included in the arsenal of tests that may be used to diagnose bladder cancer are x-rays, MRI's, sound waves, and even radioactive substances that help to define images inside the body. Generally speaking these tests can be used to determine the size and location of bladder tumors and whether or not the tumors have spread to other tissue or organs located near the bladder.
The CT (computed tomography) scan is an x-ray that produces detailed cross-sectional images of your body. This can provide thorough information about the size, shape, and position of any tumors in the urinary tract. It can also help find enlarged lymph nodes that might contain cancer, as well as deliver information about other organs in the pelvis and abdomen.
Similar to a CT Scan, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) offers comprehensive pictures of the soft tissues of the body. This test may be performed to find signs that the cancer has spread outside of the bladder into neighboring tissues or lymph nodes.
Albeit rare, if you exhibit signs of bone pain, your physician may call for a bone scan. This exam requires a small amount of low-level radioactive material to be injected into a vein while a special camera detects the material and creates a picture of the skeleton, thus displaying spots that may contain cancer.
Additionally, a chest x-ray may be done to look for a tumor or a spot on the lungs that might have spread from the bladder cancer.