When visible blood is present in the urine, your doctor will evaluate you with three separate tests. The first is a fairly straightforward urine test. The doctors take the urine, spin it down and look for cancer cells in the urine. If you imagine somebody with a cancerous polyp, somewhere in the urinary tract, it's almost like a tree with roots. As the urine passes by it, some of the leaves might be collected in the urine and end up in the specimen container. That's how cancer cells can make it into a urine specimen. Apart from collecting a urine specimen, an imaging study will be done to evaluate your kidneys and the tubes that drain the kidneys down to the bladder. That takes care of looking at the upper part of the urinary tract. But the bladder is very difficult to evaluate with most imaging studies. And there's no substitute for a procedure called cystoscopy. In cystoscopy, a painless procedure, the doctor puts a small camera into the bladder to look directly at the inside lining of the bladder. With these three tests, the full urinary tract can be evaluated if you have visible blood in the urine.
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