Screening is the process of looking for cancer before any symptoms have appeared. In some cases, when symptoms have appeared, the cancer may have already spread. Screening increases the likelihood of early detection, which in turn greatly improves the prognosis.
Unfortunately, there is no standard or routine screening test for bladder cancer.
Hematuria tests have been studied as a possible screening method for bladder cancer. These tests involve taking a urine sample and using a microscope to check it for the presence of red blood cells. This test can be repeated over time as needed. However, blood in the urine can be a symptom of many conditions other than bladder cancer, so this is not an entirely reliable screening test.
For patients who have had bladder cancer in the past, there are two main tests used to screen for recurrence:
- This procedure involves the insertion of a thin tube into the bladder through the urethra to check for abnormal areas and take tissue samples for biopsy. The cystoscope has a light and a lens on its end, so the inner wall of the bladder can be viewed on a computer monitor.
Image taken from Cancer Research UK.
- Urine cytology
- This is a lab test in which a sample of urine is looked at under a microscope to detect any abnormal cells.
Information taken from National Cancer Institute.