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Bladder Cancer & Blood In Urine

Bladder Cancer & Blood in UrineBladder Cancer & Blood in Urine

What is the bladder?

The bladder is a hollow muscular organ which stores the urine which is produced by the kidneys. It is situated in the lower abdomen just above the prostate in men.

What is the significance of blood in the urine?

Although there are a number of non-cancerous causes of blood in the urine such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones and benign prostate enlargement, the most common presentation of bladder cancer is painless blood in the urine. Therefore tests must be performed to exclude bladder cancer (and also look for other causes)

What are the risk factors for bladder cancer?

  • Increasing age
  • Men are three times as likely to develop bladder cancer than women
  • Smoking
  • Occupational exposure to aromatic amines in dyes, rubbers, printing, textiles, plastics

What tests need to be performed for blood in the urine and how is bladder cancer diagnosed?

Preliminary tests include:

  • CT scan of abdomen and pelvis or ultrasound of the urinary tract
  • Urine cytology X3 (urine tests on 3 consecutive days looking for the presence of cancer cells)
  • Urine tests for infection (MSU) and PSA (for prostate cancer)

The definitive investigation for bladder cancer is direct visualisation of the bladder via the urethra by a specialised telescope called cystoscopy. This also allows treatment of bladder cancers by removing and biopsying tumours.

A less invasive technique to check for bladder cancer is to use a thinner fibre optic flexible cystoscope which allows inspection of the bladder on an outpatient basis under local anaesthetic.