What is cystoscopy and how is it used for detecting bladder cancer?

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
  • Author: Kara N Babaian, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Cystoscopy is the primary modality for the diagnosis of bladder carcinoma because of its low risk and because biopsy specimens can be taken and papillary tumors resected during a single procedure. The EAU guidelines on non–muscle-invasive bladder cancer state that cystoscopy should be performed in all patients with symptoms of possible bladder cancer and that no noninvasive test can take its place. [69]

However, cystoscopy may be an embarrassing procedure for the patient because of exposure and handling of the genitalia. The procedure must therefore be performed with respect, and the patient should remain exposed only as long as necessary to complete the evaluation.

Men are most easily evaluated with a flexible cystoscope. In women, cystoscopy can be performed as described for men, using a flexible cystoscope, although, because the female urethra is relatively straight, a rigid cystoscope may be used instead.

See Cystoscopy for more information on this topic.

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