Screening for bladder cancer with a simple urine test

Screening for bladder cancer with a simple urine test

There are breast and colon cancer screening programs but there are none for bladder cancer. This could change with a very simple diagnostic tool: a urine test. The details of Géraldine Zamansky, journalist at the Magazine de la Santé sur France 5.

franceinfo: Is a French team at the heart of this promising search?

Geraldine Zamansky: Absolutely, it’s about the team of Dr. Florence Le Calvez-Kelmfrom’International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon. They were able to show that a very early warning sign of bladder cancer could be found in the urine. This warning signal is called a biomarker. That is, a molecule very often present in these tumors. And by passing into the bladder on contact with cancer cells, urine “catches” this biomarker.

Florence Le Calvez-Kelm explained to me that they found this in 87% of patients diagnosed with a classic diagnosis! Then, Iranian colleagues looked for this marker in urine samples given at the beginning of a search by thousands of patients followed for more than 15 years. And he was already present for up to 10 years before a bladder cancer was identified!

So a simple urine test could detect this cancer at a very early stage?

It is the idea of ​​these two teams who hope to reduce the bladder cancer mortality often diagnosed too late. Its main symptom is the presence of blood in the urine, but it can also cause frequent cravings for example. So do not hesitate to consult. Especially if the cigarette is or has been in your life.

Because we talk more often about the lungs, but the bladder is also endangered by tobacco. Florence Le Calvez-Kelm explained to me that this urine test would be very useful for smokers. And for people exposed to other toxic substances in their work environment for example.

Would this test organize a screening for these at-risk groups? Doesn’t it exist today?

Right now, this targeted screening is slowing down because to really diagnose bladder cancer, you have to look inside with a camera. So this is a tiny camera placed at the end of a thin, flexible cable. But it still has to go through the urinary tract. It is a cystoscopy performed under local anesthesia by a urologist.

We really prefer to fill the famous little plastic pot with urine… And if we side with the health authorities, it costs a lot less. In addition, the urine test could also be used to replace this video examination for monitoring patients who are already being treated and who are at high risk for relapse. This is being evaluated by the Lyon team. Positive results are expected to facilitate the follow-up of patients and their victory over bladder cancer.

Bladder cancer : the key points

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