Screening against many forms of cancer is highly recommended due to the benefits that early detection offers to survival and treatment. Bladder cancer, unfortunately, does not have a recommended screening route for people of average risk. Early bladder cancer screening offers no reduction in mortality to those of average risk.
Screening options are available, however. Some individuals may have received early-screening recommendations by their doctor due to a heightened risk. Early exposure to carcinogens, bladder defects, or any previous bladder cancer incidence often necessitates continual bladder cancer screening.
Types of Screening
Typical screening methods for bladder cancer involve non-invasive techniques that are based on urine samples. A more comprehensive test would involve bladder cell biopsies that require some form of surgery.
Urine cytology is considered a somewhat reliable screening method. This test examines urine for traces of cancer cells.
Urinalysis is comparable to urine cytology, but urinalysis can be considered more of a pre-detection method. Urinalysis examines urine for the presence of minute traces of blood. This test is meant to preclude other screening methods once blood is found. Urinalysis can be useful when attempting to detect early signs of bladder cancer.
UroVysion is meant to review urine displaced bladder cells for chromosomal damage. UroVysion was developed fairly recently and is often combined with urine cytology.
BTA detection reviews urine for the presence of bladder-tumor-associated antigens. Immune cells produce BTA when they detect and fight bladder cancer cells.
Immunocyt functions similarly to BTA in that Immunocyt reviews urine for mucin and carcinoembyronic antigen. Both of these substances are found when the immune system fights bladder cancer.
The above screening methods may be performed alone or in combination. Many of these tests share similar failures as they pertain to the effective determination of bladder cancer. Early detection options for bladder cancer are plagued with false positives and false negatives, which makes them very poor indicators of actual cancer. These tests are meant to be performed on individuals who already show signs of bladder cancer, such as blood in urine or urinary dysfunction.
While many of the above mentioned symptoms of bladder cancer often have benign causes, these symptoms should still be followed by non-invasive cancer screenings. An effective combination of testing and symptom review can allow for early detection and increased treatment options. Early detection and treatment of cancer results in highly favorable mortality rates, which makes appropriate screening equally favorable.