What physical findings are characteristic of bladder cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Kara N Babaian, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Non ̶ muscle-invasive bladder cancer is typically not found during a physical examination. In rare cases, a mass is palpable during abdominal, pelvic, rectal, or bimanual examination. A bimanual examination may be considered part of the staging of such lesions. In women, a bimanual pelvic examination is done; in men, a bimanual examination is performed with one hand per rectum and the other on the lower abdominal wall.

Attention to the anterior vaginal wall in women and the prostate in men may reveal findings that suggest local extension of bladder cancer. Assessment of fixation of the bladder to the surrounding pelvic sidewall is also important when planning definitive management for locally advanced tumors that may not be surgically resectable.

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