The common symptoms of bladder cancer are painful urination, bladder pain, frequent or unproductive urination, and blood in the urine. Blood in the urine can be symptoms of bladder cancer and be obvious red blood or more frequently the urine may appear darker in color, ranging from a slightly rusty color to dark reddish amber resembling tea.
What physician should I see if I am having bladder cancer symptoms?
Depending on how comfortable you are with your family doctor, you can see your them or a urologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract, including bladder pain and symptoms of bladder cancer.
How are bladder cancer symptoms diagnosed?
Generally a physician will check your overall healthiness and one or more of the following procedures:
o An in depth physical exam that includes checking the abdomen and pelvis for bladder tumors, bladder pain and/or other abnormalities. The doctor may also check for bladder cancer and bladder tumors via a vaginal and or rectal examination.
o Generally your doctor will collect a urine sample for urinalysis. The urinalysis will show blood cells (red and/or white), cancer cells, and other signs of disease such as chemical abnormalities that can be present with symptoms of bladder cancer.
o A common x-ray utilized to show images of the bladder is the intravenous pyelogram (IVP). Dye is injected into a vein and followed as it collects in the urine and travels through the urinary tract and into the bladder. When the dyed urine reaches bladder pain, it will make the symptoms of bladder cancer show up on x-ray. Bladder tumors will be exposed as well.
o An urologist may perform a minor outpatient surgery called a cystoscopy. A small tube with a light at the tip (cystoscope) is inserted into the bladder by way of the urethra (urinary opening). The doctor is then able to view the symptoms of bladder cancer from the other end of the tube. A doctor can see any abnormalities such as a bladder tumor or bladder cancer. Cystoscopy is also used to stage bladder tumors by collecting a tissue sample and examining it under a microscope (this is called a biopsy). With the use of micro-instruments, small tumors or even bladder cancer can sometimes be removed allowing diagnosis and treatment at the same time.
How do you tell how severe a bladder tumor is?
Once your doctor had performed the tests necessary to diagnose bladder cancer symptoms as cancerous, they will need to determine how severe your cancer is. The only positive way to confirm bladder cancer symptoms are cancer is with a biopsy. With other tests, a doctor may be reasonably sure, but not positive. One component of a biopsy is the staging (extensiveness) of a bladder tumor. There are five stages of symptoms of bladder cancer:
o Stage Zero: The least extensive stage – The cancer cells are only in the surface of the inner lining of the bladder.
o Stage One – Cancer cells are found in the deep inner lining of the bladder but have not invaded the bladder muscle.
o Stage Two – Cancer cells have spread to the bladder muscle.
o Stage Three – Cancer cells have spread to through the bladder muscle to the surrounding tissue. This may include the prostate (in men) and uterus or vagina (in women).
o Stage Four – Bladder cancer cells have spread and invaded the abdomen or pelvic walls. Cancer cells may now be present in the lymph nodes, lungs, and other surrounding organs. This is the most extensive stage.
How are symptoms of bladder cancer treated?
Depending on the extent and type of bladder cancer you have will determine what treatment options are available to you. Early detection is the key to successful treatment. Consult your doctor immediately for symptoms of bladder cancer if you have them.
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