St. Mary's Medical Center
Cancer Centers of Colorado
750 Wellington Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501
The American Cancer Society estimates over 70,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year and about 58,000 new cases of kidney cancer are discovered. The earlier we find these genitourinary cancers, the better your chances of successful treatment. When you’re diagnosed, every day counts. We’ll help you review and understand your care options quickly.
You can trust us with early detection and screening, for education, what to expect and next steps after a diagnosis.
Bladder cancer detection and diagnosis
Sometimes the first sign of bladder cancer is an abnormal result on a urine test, a test that might be part of your annual preventive care visit. Or you may have symptoms, such as difficulty urinating, pain during urination, more frequent urination than usual or blood in your urine.
If bladder cancer is a possibility, your doctor will do exams and diagnostic tests, which may include:
- Physical exam – A check for a bladder tumor
- Biopsy – A sample of tissue that is examined for the presence of cancer cells
- Cystoscopy – A thin, flexible tube is used to view the urinary tract, particularly the bladder, the urethra and the openings to the ureters
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) – Imaging that looks at the kidneys and ureters
- Urine cytology – Lab test that screens urine for abnormal cells
Talking with healthcare providers about a bladder cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. It helps to be prepared with questions to ask during your appointments.
Kidney cancer detection and diagnosis
Kidney cancer, or renal cancer, is one of the ten most common cancers in both men and women. Although small kidney tumors won’t usually cause any noticeable signs or symptoms, larger ones might. Kidney cancer can cause symptoms such as blood in your urine, low back pain on one side, a lump on one side of your lower back, feeling tired, losing weight (especially if you aren’t trying to lose weight) or a fever that does not go away and is not from a cold.
Talk to a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. Your doctor will ask additional questions about your health and other symptoms you might have and then do an exam. Unlike most types of cancer, kidney cancer can often be diagnosed without a biopsy.
Kidney cancer may be diagnosed through the following methods:
- Physical exam and a review of your medical history
- Imaging tests, including ultrasound, a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Blood screenings to look for abnormal hormone or chemistry levels in your body
- Urinalysis to screen the urine for any abnormalities
- Liver function test to measure for any abnormal levels of enzymes
- Intravenous pyelogram or IVP, an imaging test used to look at the kidneys and ureters
Talking with healthcare providers about a kidney cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. It helps to be prepared with questions to ask during your appointments.
What to expect
After an initial diagnosis of bladder or kidney cancer, you’ll likely have other tests to see if the cancer has grown into nearby areas or spread to other parts of your body. These additional tests are important as they will help your healthcare team decide the best course of treatment for you. This testing may even mean working with more than one healthcare provider or lead you to a second opinion to help you choose a treatment.
Innovative technology and techniques offered
We target bladder and kidney tumors with some of the most advanced treatments and technology available. Our cancer programs may offer:
- Advanced bladder reconstruction techniques
- Chemoprevention for bladder cancer
- Cryoablation, radiofrequency ablation and active surveillance for kidney cancer
- Immunotherapy, including BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin), interferon and interleukin-2
- Innovative and personalized chemotherapy for bladder cancer
- Laparoscopic surgery, minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery that doesn’t require the large incisions used for traditional surgery
- Targeted therapies for kidney cancer, including Sutent® (sunitinib), Nexavar® (sorafenib), Torisel® (temsirolimus), and Avastin® (bevacizumab)
You will need to call your local hospital to learn which of these options are available in your area.