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Patients with bladder cancer tend to present to their GP with blood in the urine, dysuria and frequency of micturition. This is often mistaken for a urinary tract infection and treated with antibiotics. Patients should be referred to a specialist urology surgeon. The urologist should take a history, perform an examination and organise investigations to include: full blood count, liver and renal function tests, bacteriological and cytological examination. An IVP (intravenous pyelogram) may be ordered to look at the urothelial tract radiologically or an ultrasound. The urologist should then admit the patient for cystoscopy.
Delays in Diagnosis
Treatment of bladder cancer depends on whether the tumour is superficial, invasive or metastatic. Superficial tumours are resected by diathermy at cystoscopy. This is accompanied by intravesical chemotherapy. Invasive bladder cancer is treated by radiation or surgery. Metastatic bladder cancer is treated with chemotherapy. Mistakes in diagnosing bladder cancer can be very serious. Claims may be brought for:
- Failure to take an accurate history
- Failure to refer a patient to a urologist for further investigation
- Mistakes in interpreting the investigations
- Mistaken diagnosis of bladder cancer
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