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Urinary Tract Cancers

Are Atypical Cells in Bladder Wash Cancerous?



My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 11/02, and had a RRP. On 04/04 he underwent IMRT for a rise in his PSA (he had one small positive surgical margin). Subsequent PSA tests have been undetectable (his last one was last week). For the past 6 months, he`s been having occasional bouts of hematuria. They did an IVP last week which was normal, and a cystoscopy. During the cysto, the urologist showed my dad the inflamed blood vessels in the bladder where the radiation hit, and explained that that was where the blood is coming from. They did a bladder wash as well during the cysto. Today he got the report back. There were atypical cells present in the bladder wash, malignancy could not be ruled out, and further testing was needed. His urologist is supposed to call him later today. Is bladder cancer the only reason why there would be atypical cells? Any other reasons for it? What tests will they likely suggest next? Thank you for your time and attention.


Atypical cells can be from cancer but can also be seen following radiation therapy.  I assume his urologist will recommend a biopsy to exclude the presence of malignancy.  This is done through the cystoscope and carries minimal risk to the patient. 



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Response by:

Martin I Resnick, MD Martin I Resnick, MD
Formerly, Professor of Urology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University