Urology of Greater Atlanta

Urine Cytology Test

What Is a Cytology Urine Test For?

A urine cytology test is one method used to diagnose cancers of the urinary tract. It can help in the detection of the following cancers, including:

  • Bladder cancers
  • Cancers of the ureter
  • Cancers of the urethra

This test can also detect cytomegalovirus and other viral diseases.

A cytology exam of urine alone cannot give a complete diagnosis and therefore is used along with other tests and procedures. The test involves examining a urine specimen to see how the cells inside look and function. 

For example, your doctor may recommend a cytology test if you are showing signs or symptoms of urinary tract cancer, like blood in the urine. Urine cytology is most effective in detecting larger and more-aggressive urinary tract cancers. Smaller urinary tract cancers may not show up as much with this exam.

Call Urology of Greater Atlanta or make an appointment online today if you’re concerned about bladder cancer or have any abnormal urinary symptoms. Our team of urologists can run the diagnostic tests needed to diagnose and treat your symptoms appropriately. We have multiple offices throughout Georgia for your convenience.

What Is the Procedure?

In order for the doctors to get a urine sample, you will most likely need to urinate into a sterile cup. This method is called a clean catch urine sample or clean catch urine specimen.

In some cases, your urologist will need to take the sample using a catheter. This is where your healthcare provider inserts a narrow tube into your urethra to take the urine sample directly from your bladder.

Your urologist could also collect a urine sample for a cytology test during a cystoscopy. This procedure involves inserting a small camera into the bladder through the urethra to examine the inside of your bladder.

What Are the Risks of Cytology?

Urinary cytology is a low-risk method of detecting bladder cancer and other urinary system cancers. Usually, urine samples are taken in a sterile container which has no risk. If the sample is taken through a catheter, there may be a slight risk of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI).

How Do You Prepare for Cytology?

The best time to take your test is after your first morning urination. This is because urine specimens containing urine from your first-morning urination contain cells that may have degraded in your bladder overnight. This may make it difficult to analyze in the laboratory.

How Long Does it Take to Get Urine Cytology Results?

The length of time to get your test results will depend on the laboratory. When you give your sample to the doctor, ask how long you should expect to wait. As soon as the pathologist has finished examining the sample, they will send the results to your doctor, who will then inform you of the results.

What Do My Test Results Mean?

Your doctor may use different terms to describe the results of your test. The most common words include the following:

  • Unsatisfactory specimen — You may need to repeat the test, as an insufficient number of cells were found in the sample, or the wrong type was found.
  • Negative — Your urine shows normal cells. This means there were no cancer cells identified in your urine sample.
  • Atypical — Some abnormalities were found in your urine sample cells, but they were not abnormal enough to be considered cancer. Abnormal cells may also be a sign of inflammation of the urinary tract.
  • Suspicious — Abnormal urine cells were found, and they might be cancerous.
  • Positive — This means that cancer cells were found in your urine.

It’s important to remember that a urine cytology test cannot be used alone to diagnose cancer or inflammatory disease. If atypical or cancerous cells are detected, you will likely need further examination using a cystoscopy procedure or CT scan. Only after examining the cancer with these tests would your doctor recommend any treatment plan, such as a cystectomy.

Consult the Experts

Contact us at Urology of Greater Atlanta or make an appointment online today if you’re concerned about bladder cancer or have any abnormal urinary symptoms. We have several offices located throughout Georgia for your convenience. Our caring specialists can help give you the peace of mind you deserve!

Stockbridge, Country Club Drive

290 Country Club Drive Suite 100, Stockbridge, GA 30281

Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge Drive

4799 Blue Ridge Drive Suite 107, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Sandy Springs

1100 Lake Hearn Drive NE STE 320
Atlanta, GA 30342

Griffin, West College Street

230 West College Street Bldg. C, Griffin, GA 30224

Spivey Station

7823 Spivey Station Blvd Suite 210, Jonesboro, GA 30236


4143 Hospital Drive NE Covington, GA 30014