Ultrasound testing utilizes sound waves to find out if polyps are present inside the bladder, according to Columbia Urology. Polyps are often a part of the initial stage (stage TA) of bladder cancer, in which the tumor cells have made a polyp and are only located inside the bladder.
Doctors order ultrasound testing of the bladder when they think a patient might have bladder cancer. Symptoms pointing the doctor in that direction include a recent increase in urination frequency without explanation, burning during urination, elevated urgency to urinate or blood showing up in the urine, explains Columbia Urology.
Ultrasound testing is just one of several methods available for testing for bladder cancer. Urine cytology places urine beneath a microscope so the technician can check for anomalous cells in a procedure similar to that of a PAP smear. Urine cultures taken at this time rule out infections that can mimic the symptoms of cancer, notes Columbia Urology.
Cystoscopy, or sliding a cystoscope through the urethra into the bladder, lets the doctor look for potential cancer. Doctors remove any suspicious tissue and place it under a microscope for biopsy. The purpose of this is to look directly at the tissue for any presence of cancer, reports Columbia Urology.