ANSWERS TO COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
PersonalizeDx answers your concerns
There is now a reliable molecular test that aids in the initial diagnosis of bladder cancer in patients with hematuria (blood in the urine) as well as in the subsequent monitoring for bladder cancer recurrence in patients who previously have been diagnosed with the disease. The following frequently asked questions are intended to provide background information to patients preparing to discuss bladder cancer with a urologist.
How common is bladder cancer?
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimated that in 2013 there would be 72,570 new cases of bladder cancer in the United States and 15,210 deaths from the disease.1
Where is the bladder located?
A hollow, muscular organ, the bladder is part of the urinary tract and is located in the lower abdomen. Urine is formed in the kidneys and travels down to the bladder through tubes called ureters. The bladder acts as a holding area for urine until it leaves the body through a tube called the urethra.
How is bladder cancer treated?
Treatment is a 2-part process:
- Part one is diagnosis, which includes identification of the cancer, followed by determination of its stage (invasiveness of the cancer into other tissue layers) and grade (aggressiveness of the cancer cells).
- Part two is treatment. Depending on the state and grade, the cancer may be treated with surgery (removal of the cancer), immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or radiation.
With such a high bladder cancer recurrence rate and need for follow up, how does my urologist monitor my bladder cancer?
The primary method to monitor is by cystoscopy. This is a medical procedure in which a cystoscope (a narrow tube and lens) is inserted into the bladder via the urethra. Local anesthetic or general anesthesia is often administered during this procedure. The urologist uses the cystoscope to look at the inside of the bladder for signs of cancer. If an area looks suspicious, the urologist can collect a small sample of the tissue (a biopsy) and send it to a testing lab that studies the tissue to determine whether cancer cells are present.
To assist in the diagnosis, one of the following lab tests may be performed along with cystoscopy on a sample of your voided urine:
- Urine Cytology Test: This microscopic test looks for abnormal-looking cells (potential bladder cancer cells) that were shed from the bladder lining into the urine.
- Biomarkers: These tests look for specific molecules in the urine that are produced by cancer cells.
- DNA Probe-Based Test: This test looks for genetic changes via fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) in bladder cells collected from voided urine.
What makes the UroVysion DNA probe-based test so important?
Cancer does not occur without genetic change. The UroVysion (FISH) test detects genetic changes, such as chromosomal abnormalities, that can occur in bladder cancer cells. UroVysion visually reveals chromosomal abnormalities associated with cancer. With UroVysion, by identifying as few as four bladder cells with abnormal chromosomes, a physician has an important tool, along with current standard diagnostic procedures, to aid in determining if bladder cancer is present. UroVysion, in conjunction with cystoscopy, can also be used to monitor for recurrent bladder cancer. Discuss the UroVysion test with your physician, because only your physician can order UroVysion. Ask your urologist to contact PersonalizeDx to request the UroVysion Bladder Cancer Kit by name.
Is UroVysion paid for by my insurance?
UroVysion is covered and reimbursed by most private and public insurance. PersonalizeDx bills your insurance company for the test. If you have questions about payment or insurance coverage, contact PersonalizeDx at 1-877-429-6643.
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1. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/bladder. Accessed February 20, 2014.