Images and Test Results
As patients of bladder cancer we will have experienced that first session with our general practitioner, where they have most likely had you undertake some sort of imaging to determine what might be going on internally. From that stage you likely visited a urologist who would have undertaken more tests and possibly proceeded with a cystoscopy to examine the inside of your bladder.
At this point, you have had a number of tests or scans to narrow down the diagnosis. These tests or images will also determine your course of action, treatment for the weeks and months ahead to wrestle this bladder cancer to the ground.
In my case, in March 2014, I was in for a TURBT — resection/surgery to remove two tumours from within my bladder.
From those tumours there was pathology undertaken to determine the stage and grade of my bladder cancer. After my surgery I returned to my urologist to test the bladder with a flow test. Successfully completing the flow test, we reviewed the pathology report and determined the next course of action for follow up treatment.
Today — so many of us as patients have full access to our “charts”. Whether it is the Life Labs or Hospital or Institution My Chart — we often have the test results before our doctors have even read them, let alone book us in for a follow up appointment.
Don’t Do this at Home on Your Own
CAUTION — your pathology reports or tests results should only be interpreted and consulted with you with your doctor. Your own interpretation is not professional nor knowledgeable. I always chuckle when I first read a CT scan report and something was indicated as “unremarkable”. Gosh…you would think that something unremarkable would not look great. In fact the “unremarkable” actually means that there is nothing of concern. You might like to take a peek at your results, given that you will likely have access before you see your doctor. Just be cautious on trying to interpret their meaning on your own. What you might do is have a peek and prepare yourself with questions, based on what you are reading on the report. That will be helpful to your doctor or urologist to be prepared for the minutes that you will have together.
The other caution is to understand that your results might be very different than a friend or acquaintance’s results. For instance, I had non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. My pathology report indicated that I had “Ta high grade disease”. Thus the actual tumour in the bladder was non-invasive papillary carcinoma — that being that it had not gone into the wall of the bladder. However, the “high grade” means that it could in fact become of concern and aggressive. Thus, my course of action was to undergo a series of treatments with BCG (more to follow on that).
Stage and Grade
This Bladder Cancer Canada is a really clear snap shot of Stage and Grade information — with a visual — I think you will find it useful.
At Bladder Cancer Canada we are prompted by our Co-Found Jack Moon and continuing to make understanding medical terms in layman terms so that people can have a better understanding of what they are facing, what has been done and what still needs to be done on their bladder cancer journey.
Next up will be BCG — the treatment that I underwent as a follow up to my “Ta high grade disease”. I sit here in May of 2021 still “all clear”. Cheers to that !