At the OSUCCC – James, cancer research experts continually focus on studying bladder cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. In fact, the OSUCCC – James consistently paves the way in learning more about what causes bladder cancer — leading to even more highly targeted prevention, care and treatment.

Screening for Bladder Cancer

Cancer screening exams can help find bladder cancer at its earliest stage when the chances for successful treatment, optimal outcomes and fewer side effects are greatest. These tests are usually done when a patient is healthy and has no specific symptoms.

Not only are expert cancer researchers at the OSUCCC – James continually working to detect and diagnose bladder cancer early, but they are also developing additional tests to detect and diagnose cancer even earlier, leading to improved outcomes, faster responses and fewer side effects.

For people who are at very high risk for bladder cancer, such as those previously diagnosed with bladder cancer, doctors may recommend certain, regular screening exams.

Tests and procedures to screen for bladder cancer may include the following:


A cystoscopy is a procedure that uses a thin tube inserted through the urethra and into the bladder to check for any abnormal tissues. If any tissue samples need to be taken, they may be taken during this procedure.

Urine Cytology

A urine sample is examined a sample of urine under a microscope to check for the presence of cancer cells.

Hematuria Tests

Special test strips can detect blood in the urine – a condition called hematuria.

This may also be caused by other conditions other than cancer.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Bladder Cancer Risk Factors

A bladder cancer risk factor is anything that increases your chances of developing bladder cancer.

Smoking is a significant risk factor for bladder cancer. Carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) from cigarette smoke can become concentrated in the urine and over time can damage the bladder's lining. Studies suggests that smokers are two to four times more likely to develop bladder cancer than nonsmokers.

Other risk factors include:

  • Having a family history of bladder cancer
  • Having certain changes in the genes that are linked to bladder cancer
  • Being exposed to certain chemicals in the workplace
  • Past treatment with certain anticancer drugs, such as cyclophosphamide or ifosfamide, or radiation therapy to the pelvis
  • Taking Aristolochia fangchi, a Chinese herb
  • Drinking well water that has high levels of arsenic
  • Drinking water that has been treated with chlorine
  • Having a history of bladder infections, including bladder infections caused by Schistosoma haematobium
  • Using urinary catheters for a long time

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Not everyone with risk factors will get bladder cancer. But having certain risk factors may increase your risk of developing the disease. If you are at high risk for bladder cancer, talk to your doctor about tests to find out if you have early signs of the disease.

If you’ve been diagnosed with bladder cancer, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a bladder cancer specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210