Bladder Cancer Screening and Testing Overview

This year in the United States , over 68,000 people will be told they have bladder cancer and an estimated 14,000 will die of the disease.1 Screening means testing for cancer before you have any symptoms. A screening test can often help find cancer at an early stage. Bladder cancer in the early stages can often be cured since it’s less like to have spread to other parts of the body.2

There are several screening tests and procedures that examine the urine, vagina, or rectum to help find and diagnose bladder cancer.

CT scan

A CT or CAT Scan is a procedure that takes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body at many different angles. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. A CT or CAT Scan stands for Computerized Tomography, or Computerized Axial Tomography.


Urinalysis is a test that checks the color of urine and its contents, such as sugar, protein, red blood cells, and white blood cells.

Internal exam

This consists of an exam of the vagina and/or rectum. The doctor inserts gloved fingers into the vagina and/or rectum to feel for lumps.

Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)

Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is a series of x-rays of the kidneys, ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), and bladder to find out if cancer is present in these organs. A contrast dye is injected into a vein and as the dye moves through the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, x-rays are taken to see if there are any blockages.


A cystoscopy is a procedure that looks inside the bladder and urethra to check for abnormal areas. A cystoscope is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. A cystoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue samples that are checked under a microscope for cancer.


A biopsy is the removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. A biopsy for bladder cancer is usually done during cystoscopy. It may be possible to remove the entire tumor during the biopsy.

Urine cytology

A urine cytology is an examination of urine under a microscope to check for abnormal cells.

While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci® System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.

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