Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Education: Prostate, Bladder & Kidney Cancers

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, there are a variety of procedures for diagnosing prostate, bladder, and kidney cancers. Simply click on the specific link below to read more.

Prostate Cancer

Early stage prostate cancer produces no symptoms. In addition to a physical examination that includes blood, urine, and other laboratory tests, the two most common screening procedures for detecting prostate cancer are:

  • Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) — An examination of the lower rectum to feel for abnormalities of the prostate
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen Test (PSA) — A blood test to detect prostate-specific antigen (PSA) produced by the prostate gland; high PSA levels may be a sign of prostate cancer

If the results of the DRE or PSA are unusual, a doctor may conduct the following tests:

  • Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS) — An imaging technique that uses sound waves from a small probe placed in the rectum to produce a picture (or sonogram) of the prostate gland
  • Biopsy — Removal of a small tissue sample from the prostate gland, using a needle guided by a TRUS, to check for cancer cells

If prostate cancer is detected, Sylvester physicians may use these and other tests to determine the grade (or extent) of the disease and plan the patient’s treatment. Prostate cancer is graded using the Gleason system which assigns numbers from 1 to 10 based on the arrangement of cells in the cancerous tissue. The lower the Gleason score, the less likely the tumor is to spread.

Bladder Cancer

Blood in the urine is the most common first symptom for someone with bladder cancer. To determine the cause of such symptoms, a doctor will carefully perform a physical examination that includes a complete medical history, and one or more of the following tests:

  • Urinalysis — A test to check for blood or infection
  • Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) — An imaging technique using a special dye to detect abnormalities in the kidneys, ureters, and bladder
  • Cytoscopy — An examination of the inside of the bladder and urethra to check for abnormal areas
  • Biopsy — Removal of small samples of bladder tissue, through the cytoscope, to check for cancer cells
  • Urinary Cytology and Tumor Markers — An examination of urine under a microscope to find any cancerous cells.

If bladder cancer is detected, Sylvester physicians may use these and other tests to determine the stage (or extent) of the disease and plan the patient’s treatment. The stage is based on whether the disease has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body.

Kidney Cancer

The two most common methods of presentation for kidney cancer are blood in the urine, and increasingly, obtaining an X-ray for something other than kidney cancer. To determine the cause of symptoms, a doctor will carefully perform a physical examination that includes a complete medical history, and one or more of the following tests:

  • Ultrasound — An imaging technique using sound waves and
  • their echoes to produce a picture of the kidneys and other internal organs
  • Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) — An imaging technique using a special dye to detect abnormalities in the kidneys, ureters, and bladder
  • Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT Scan) — An imaging technique using an X-ray machine linked to a computer to create a series of cross-sectional pictures of areas inside the body
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) — An imaging technique using a powerful magnet linked to a computer to produce detailed pictures of areas inside the body

If kidney cancer is detected, Sylvester physicians may use these and other tests to determine the stage (or extent) of the disease and plan the patient’s treatment. The stage is based on whether the disease has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body.