Screening for Bladder and Other Urothelial Cancers
Key Points for This Section
- Tests are used to screen for different types of cancer.
- There is no standard or routine screening test for bladder cancer.
- Two tests may be used to screen for bladder cancer in patients who have had bladder cancer in the past:
- Hematuria tests may also be used to screen for bladder cancer.
Some screening tests are used because they have been shown to be helpful both in finding cancers early and in decreasing the chance of dying from these cancers. Other tests are used because they have been shown to find cancer in some people; however, it has not been proven in clinical trials that use of these tests will decrease the risk of dying from cancer.
Scientists study screening tests to find those with the fewest risks and most benefits. Cancer screening trials also are meant to show whether early detection (finding cancer before it causes symptoms) decreases a person's chance of dying from the disease. For some types of cancer, finding and treating the disease at an early stage may result in a better chance of recovery.
Screening for bladder cancer is under study and there are screening clinical trials taking place in many parts of the country. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.
Cystoscopy is a procedure to look inside the bladder and urethra to check for abnormal areas. A cystoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. Tissue samples may be taken for biopsy.
Hematuria (red blood cells in the urine) may be caused by cancer or by other conditions. A hematuria test is used to check for blood in a sample of urine by viewing it under a microscope or using a special test strip. The test may be repeated over time.