Cystoscopy — Bladder Cancer Awareness Month
Ok you’ve had your initial concerns expressed by your GP, you’ve headed off to the urologist, the urologist might have run some more tests, maybe another scan or ultra-sound and now they think that they would like you to have a cystoscopy.
In essence this is an opportunity for your urologist to go up into the bladder with a tiny little camera and have an exploratory look around.
So…you’re thinking “a camera up my what !?”. Smiles…trust me, if you are on the path of assessing whether or not you have bladder cancer, you will want to just trust the guidance of your medical team and book this as quickly as possible so that they can assess your situation.
You will be asked to disrobe, likely put on a hospital gown or two (back and front). You will climb up on a table in a procedural suite of some sort where you will put your legs in stirrups. The nurse will give you a quick wash down there and then likely give you some freezing gel that will help numb the area so that the scope can then be inserted up through the urethra and into the bladder. For males you might find a slight discomfort as the cystoscope passes by the prostate gland. Try and be as calm and tension free as possible, sometimes good to take a deep breath. It may also help for you to take a tylenol before the procedure to further minimize discomfort.
The doctor may draw a small sample of urine from the bladder. The doctor performing the cystoscopy will fill your bladder up with saline to expand the bladder for best viewing opportunity. You will likely have a chance to view the inside of your bladder along with the doctor and his team. The team may include the nurse that prepped you and possible a resident student if your hospital is an educational university institution. In fact the resident may actually perform the cystoscopy and then call your urologist to take a look at the findings.
In my situation, Dr. Kodama saw two small tumours in the bladder. They almost resembled a cauliflower shape. On viewing what was in the bladder the Doctor tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I think you are likely going to need a small operative procedure (my recollection…likely not his exact words).
The procedure might take up to ten minutes or less.
After the examination you will get dressed and then meet with your urologist for a de-brief to discuss next steps. I’ll cover that de-brief in the next blog post.