The American Cancer Society provides some information about the early detection of bladder cancer. Its website gives the early and advanced symptoms of bladder cancer in addition to a list of screening tests that a doctor may have a patient undergo for its early detection.
The first warning sign of bladder cancer is having blood in the urine, as indicated by the American Cancer Society. It may be accompanied by pain or a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination and feeling the need to urinate even when the bladder is not full.
The first screening test that the American Cancer Society lists is urinalysis to check for blood in the urine. However, a positive result does not necessarily indicate bladder cancer. Performing other tests, such as urine cytology and urine tests for tumor markers, aids in confirming the presence of cancer.
In urine cytology, the doctor directly examines urine under a microscope to look for cancer cells. Newer procedures, such as UroVysion, BTA tests and Immunocyt, look for the presence of tumor markers or substances that indicate bladder cancer in the urine.
WebMD additionally mentions the need for cytoscopy. With this procedure, the doctor can look inside a patient's bladder using a thin tube with light. A biopsy may be done at the same time to get a small sample of abnormal tissues to examine under a microscope for cancer cells.