Detecting bladder cancer with an acceptable level of accuracy, especially for individuals who are not exhibiting any symptoms, is not yet available through a routine test. Bladder cancer screening methods are currently being studied by scientific researchers. Nevertheless, early detection is vital for prompt treatment, which can often lead to a good outcome. For these reasons, there are certain tests that some physicians recommend for people who have been identified as having a heightened risk of developing the condition, such as those who were exposed to radiation or were previously diagnosed with bladder cancer or a defective bladder at birth.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Approach to Bladder Cancer Screenings
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Genitourinary Oncology Program offers the following bladder cancer screening tests for high-risk individuals:
- Urinalysis – A simple test that can detect blood in the urine (even small amounts that do not cause the urine to appear pink, orange or red in color to the naked eye)
- Urine cytology – A urine sample is examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells
- Urine tests for tumor markers – These advanced tests can identify certain proteins, antigens and other substances in the urine that could indicate bladder cancer
While these bladder cancer screening tests are not generally recommended for people of average risk, the condition often produces early, detectable symptoms. Some early warning signs include:
- Blood in the urine
- Pain or burning during urination
- Frequent urination
- A feeling of urgency even when the bladder is not full
Of course, these symptoms can also signal noncancerous conditions like infection, overactive bladder, bladder stones and enlarged prostate (in men). Therefore, it’s important to consult with a physician promptly for an accurate diagnosis.
Do Urologists Treat Bladder Cancer?
Yes, urologists are surgeons specialized in treating conditions of the urinary system and male reproductive system, including bladder cancer. Depending on your treatment plan, your team may include other specialists, as well. At Moffitt, our multispecialty team comprises surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists, each focused specifically on the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer.
Patients who have questions about bladder cancer screening are welcome to consult with the experienced, multispecialty group of experts at Moffitt. Our specialists include surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists, and each has expertise focused specifically on the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. This unique "specialist within the specialty" approach allows us to provide comprehensive and highly individualized patient care. Our cohesive team meets weekly to collaborate with our uropathologists and diagnostic radiologists and ensure that our patients have an individualized treatment plan.