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Bladder cancer: diagnosis and treatment

  • Katharine C DeGeorge 1,
  • Harry R Holt 1,
  • Stephanie C Hodges 1
1 University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Publication: Am Fam Physician, October 2017

Bladder cancer is the sixth most prevalent malignancy in the United States and causes more than 16,000 deaths annually. The most common clinical presentation is asymptomatic hematuria, which should prompt evaluation with cystoscopy, renal function testing, and upper urinary tract imaging in adults 35 years and older and in those with irritative voiding symptoms, risk factors for bladder cancer, or gross hematuria at any age. Transurethral resection of the bladder tumor allows for definitive diagnosis, staging, and primary treatment. Non-muscle-invasive disease is treated with transurethral resection, most often followed by intravesical bacille Calmette-Guérin or intravesical chemotherapy. Bladder cancer that invades the muscle layer is typically treated with radical cystectomy and neoadjuvant chemotherapy because of higher rates of progression and recurrence. No major organization recommends screening asymptomatic adults for bladder cancer, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force concluded that current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening.