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Bladder Cancer Diagnosis

If you have symptoms that suggest bladder cancer, your doctor will try to find out what’s causing the problems. You may have one or more of the following tests:

  • Urine tests: The lab checks your urine for blood (hematuria), cancer cells, and other signs of disease. These include urinalysis, urine cytology, and urine tests for tumor markers such as UroVysion™, BTA tests, Immunocyt™ and NMP22 BladderChek®.
  • Cystoscopy: Your doctor uses a thin, lighted tube (a cystoscope) to look directly into your bladder. It may be done at your doctor’s office. This test can be uncomfortable because the doctor will insert the cystoscope into the bladder through your urethra. You may need local anesthesia for this test.
  • Biopsy: Your doctor can remove samples of tissue with the cystoscope, called a biopsy. A pathologist then examines the tissue under a microscope. In most cases, a biopsy is the only sure way to ell whether cancer is present.

For a small number of patients, the doctor removes the entire area with cancer during the biopsy. For these patients, bladder cancer is diagnosed and treated at the same time.


If cancer cells are found in the tissue sample from the bladder, the pathologist determines the grade – or how much the tumor tissue differs from normal bladder tissue. It may suggest how fast the tumor is likely to grow.

  • Low-grade cancers look more like normal tissue. They are also called well-differentiated cancers. These cancers usually have a good prognosis (outlook).
  • High-grade tumors tend to grow faster than those with lower grades and are also more likely to spread. These cancers may be called either poorly differentiated or undifferentiated.


A biopsy can show how deeply the cancer has invaded into the bladder wall, which is very important in deciding treatment. If the cancer stays in the inner layer of cells without growing into the deeper layers, it is called non-invasive. If the cancer grows into the deep layers of the bladder, it is called invasive. Invasive cancers are more likely to spread and are harder to treat.

You may also see a bladder cancer described as superficial or non-muscle invasive. These terms include both non-invasive tumors as well as any invasive tumors that have not grown into the main muscle layer of the bladder.

If you have taken Actos and have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, contact the attorneys at Levin Simes LLP. Complete the form on this page for a free consultation, or contact us at 1-888-426-4156 or [email protected].