Maybe you know that a cancer cell can have monstrous fingerlike protrusions, and if such a shape is found inside your bladder, this can induce untold anxiety.

A cystoscopy is a procedure in which a physician places a tube with a lens through the patient’s urethra and further into the bladder to view the interior.

Finger-like protrusions or extensions may be observed. However, at that point, a diagnosis of cancer cannot be made.

Only a tissue sample that is surgically extracted can yield a cancer diagnosis under a microscope.

“The lumen [interior] of the bladder is generally smooth,” says Dana Rice, MD, a board certified urologist and creator of the UTI Tracker mobile app, which helps patients catalogue daily urinary tract symptoms, medication and behavioral patterns, and offers personalized tips for UTI prevention.

Dr. Rice continues, “There can be diverticula or trabeculations [thickened bladder muscle] in the bladder that are variations in bladder muscle thickness, thin and thick, respectively.

“These are benign findings that may look irregular on cystoscopy.

“Ureterocele [congenital abnormality in structure] and PUNLMP (papillary urothelial neoplasm of low malignant potential) are other protrusions in the bladder that are non-cancerous.”

PUNLMP, though not actual cancer, is considered precancerous because, when compared to typical cells in the bladder, the atypical PUNLMP cells are more likely to ever transform into cancer.

Dr. Rice is with Inova Medical Group in Fairfax, VA, and her clinical interests include bladder, kidney and prostate cancer, minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery.