The diagnosis of bladder cancer is based on examining cells from the bladder, either from a urine specimen or biopsy of the bladder. Only a pathologist can diagnose if a bladder cancer is present and the type of bladder cancer, by looking at the bladder tissue. The correct diagnosis is critical, as appropriate treatment of bladder cancer is dependant upon the type of cancer seen. The pathology of the bladder is complex and therefore a second opinion is often advisable and can have a major impact in therapy.

Urine cytology comparison

Urine Cytology Comparison

The diagnosis can sometimes be made by examining urine cytology. A cytopathologist looks at individual cells from the urine, which are spread into a thin layer onto glass microscopic slides. These procedures have the benefit of not requiring an operation or general anesthesia.

Biopsy of the bladder, performed through the cystoscope, is the more common means of diagnosing these tumors. The pathologist will examine a small sample (a biopsy) of your bladder tissue under a microscope. The pathologist identifies whether the tumor is benign or malignant and the type of tumor. This is essential because tumors of different types behave very differently and require different treatment regimens.