When to be concerned about bladder cancer

A. shows the normal bladder appearance. Among radiographic bladder wall abnormalities are B. diffuse bladder wall thickening, C. focal bladder wall thickening and D. bladder mass.

A. shows the normal bladder appearance. Among radiographic bladder wall abnormalities are B. diffuse bladder wall thickening, C. focal bladder wall thickening and D. bladder mass.

A medical scan of your abdomen or pelvis may reveal more than what your doctor was looking for. Some specific features of your bladder could indicate cancer, even if you have no pain, bleeding or other symptoms. A follow-up is warranted, say a pair of Upstate urologists who published their work in the journal Urology this year.

Timothy Byler, MD, and Imad Nsouli, MD, created a database of 2,400 patients  who underwent cystoscopy, a procedure that examines the inside of the bladder.  From their data, they discovered:

* A mass in the bladder has a 50-percent chance of being cancerous.

* A bladder wall that was uniformly thicker than usual had a 20-percent chance of being cancerous.

* A bladder with a localized area of thickness on the inside wall is not likely to be cancerous.

The urologists admitted they were surprised that nearly 15 percent of the patients included in their database were found to have bladder cancer. Half had a more aggressive, deadlier type of cancer. Undergoing cystoscopy to explore the abnormalities that turned up by incidentally could have saved these patients’ lives.

The lesson from Upstate is: Carefully read imaging reports, and seek answers for any abnormalities.

 

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