Diagnosis and Screening for Bladder Cancer
Each year, more than 80,000 people in the U.S. receive a bladder cancer diagnosis. An estimated 70% of bladder cancer cases are nonmuscle invasive (typically less aggressive), while 30% of cases are more advanced. At this time, there is no accurate screening tool to detect bladder cancer.
At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, our urologic oncology surgeons use Blue Light Cystoscopy™ with Cysview® (BLC) to better diagnose, evaluate and remove bladder cancer tumors and lesions. As a result of positive outcomes in clinical trials, this technology is included in the bladder cancer guidelines published by the American Urological Association and the Society of Urologic Oncology.
Screening for bladder cancer
CT scans are like X-rays, but they make 3D images of bones, organs and soft tissue. They help your physician see the size, density and location of a tumor.
This test allows your physician to look at the inside of the bladder and the urethra using a thin, lighted instrument called a cystoscope. Your physician places the scope into your urethra and slowly moves it into the bladder. Next, he or she can insert tiny instruments through the cystoscope to take samples (biopsy) of tissue or urine.
Urine cytology is a test to look for abnormal cells in your urine. The test involves looking at a sample of urine with a microscope to see if there are any cancer or precancer cells in it. It's used with other tests and procedures to diagnose urinary tract cancers, most often bladder cancer.
A biopsy can be taken through the cystoscope. We send the tissue sample to the laboratory, where a pathologist examines it under a microscope to help diagnose your condition.
Our specialists use a revolutionary diagnostic and treatment approach called Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview that improves detection and removal of early-stage bladder cancer with greater accuracy and helps reduce recurrence. When symptoms and blood tests suggest bladder cancer, physicians visually inspect the interior wall of the bladder using a cystoscope — a thin tube with a light and video camera on the end — in a procedure called a cystoscopy.
While larger tumors may be visible using white light, smaller cancerous areas may not be easily detected because their color can resemble surrounding healthy tissue. With BLC, physicians use a cystoscope equipped with both white and blue light after administering an optical-imaging drug that cancer cells absorb. This drug makes the cancer cells glow bright fluorescent pink in blue light and stand out against the healthy tissue so they’re easier to find.
Your doctor may use BLC in certain situations, such as:
- When a biopsy or white light cystoscopy inspection detects early-stage bladder cancer
- As a follow-up to Bacillus Calmette-Guerin treatment, a common intravesical immunotherapy for treating early-stage bladder cancer
- If multiple low-grade tumors are present
- For re-evaluation 4 to 6 weeks after tumor removal
- If bloodwork indicates presence of cancer cells and white light cystoscopy is negative
- In assessing bladder cancer tumors
During a trans urethral resection of a bladder tumor the surgeon removes the tumor in your bladder through the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of your body. This allows your physician to stage and grade your tumor.
MRI is another way physicians can view soft tissue in the body.
The PET scan uses a special camera to see organs in the body. The camera records a tracer (radioactive sugar) that is put into a vein. Cancer cells use more sugar than normal cells, so the tracer shows up in the cancer cells.
Bone scans use a special type of camera and a tracer or radioactive substance that travels into your bones. The tracer liquid is injected into a vein in your arm. The camera records where it travels and turns the recording into images on a computer.
You may have additional blood tests to confirm a diagnosis of bladder cancer.
IVP uses a dye placed in your veins. Through X-rays, your physician can see where the dye goes. This gives your physician a visual picture of your urinary tract.