Bladder Cancer Treatment Options
At Advanced Urology, we work closely with you to determine the most appropriate treatment. Your bladder cancer treatment is based on:
- Your cancer’s stage (how far it has spread) and aggressiveness
- The extent of your symptoms
- Your physical health and any other medical conditions
The following treatments may be used alone or in combination with one another.
Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT)
This surgery is performed remove the section of the bladder that is affected by the tumor while sparing the rest of the organ; usually used when treating Stage 0 and Stage I patients.
A surgical procedure to remove the bladder. For women, this procedure involves the removal of the bladder as well as the uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina. For men, it involves removal of the bladder as well as the prostate and seminal vesicles. This surgery usually is performed in conjunction with another procedure that creates a new way for urine to leave the body, including:
- Ileal Conduit: A small reservoir for urine is created from a segment of the bowel and urine is drained through a urine collection appliance worn outside the body.
- Continent Urinary Reservoir: A small reservoir for urine is created from a segment of the colon and is used as an internal pouch that collects urine, which is drained regularly through an external catheter.
- Orthotopic Neobladder: Using a segment of the bowel and pouch is created to make a new bladder (neobladder), which is attached to the urethra where urine normally leaves the bladder. This procedure allows for some regular urinary control, but there are side effects and it is not recommended for all patients.
This non-surgical therapy uses drugs to kill the cancerous cells. It may be administered directly to the bladder (intra vesicle) or through a vein in the arm (systemic). Systemic chemotherapy can be used when treating patients with Stages T2-4 cancer in combination with surgery.
This non-surgical therapy uses biological therapy drugs to signal the body’s immune system to fight cancer. The drugs are inserted through a catheter (small, flexible tube) directly into the bladder. Immunotherapy is usually used to treat Stage Ta, T1 and CIS patients. In fact, this is the primary treatment modality for Tcis tumors.
This non-surgical therapy uses high energy beams aimed at the tumor to kill or shrink the cancer cells; usually used when treating Stage T2–4 patients.
Bladder Cancer Prognosis
Each patient is different and how well he or she responds to treatment for bladder cancer depends on how soon the cancer is found and how well the patient responds to treatment. For Stage Ta and T1 patients, survival is good, although the risk of the cancer coming back is high. Most reoccurring bladder cancers can be surgically removed and cured.
For patients with Stage T3 bladder cancer, cure rates are less then 50%. and, for patients with Stage T4 cancer, unfortunately, it is rarely cured.
Regular follow up is important for all bladder cancer patients. Your surgeon will discuss with you what follow up tests are appropriate for your stage of disease.