Bladder Cancer Treatment
Bladder Cancer Treatment options are:
Surgery is the most common option for most people with bladder cancer.
Transurethral resection (TUR): The doctor inserts the cystoscope into the bladder through your urethra. The cutting tool is slipped through the cystoscope. A small wire loop at the end of the tool removes the cancer and burns away remaining cancer cells with an electric current.
Open surgery: The surgeon makes an incision into your body to remove the cancer from your bladder. It can be Partial cystectomy (removal of a part of the bladder) or radical cystectomy (removal of the entire bladder).
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be used to treat bladder cancer before or after surgery. You may receive chemotherapy by mouth, bladder or vein. Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cancer cells, but the drugs can also harm normal cells that divide rapidly such as blood cells, cells in the hair roots and the cells that line the digestive system. Consequently, other health issues you may have will be examined by your physician when treatment options are reviewed.
People with early bladder cancer may receive a treatment called biological therapy or immunotherapy. The treatment is BCG solution, which is a liquid containing weakened bacteria. Consequently, the bacteria help your body’s immune system to kill cancer cells in the bladder.
Several targeted therapy drugs, that target specific portions of cancer cells, have been approved to treat other cancers and now are used for bladder cancer too. Now, you can read more about these drugs on American Cancer Societies website: sunitinib (Sutent®), lapatinib (Tykerb®), erlotinib (Tarceva®),trastuzumab (Herceptin®), and panitumumab (Vectibix®).
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Usually radiation is given after surgery and along with chemotherapy for cancer that has invaded the muscle layer of the bladder. However, it can be given instead of surgery or chemotherapy in some cases.
The goals of rehabilitation depend on the extent of disease and surgery. If the surgeon removes your bladder, you’ll need a new way to store urine. The surgeon uses a piece of your small intestine or large intestine to make a new path for urine to exit the body or be stored. Your healthcare team can tell you more about the following options:
- Bag worn outside your body under your clothing
- Pouch inside your body
- Bladder connected to your urethra
- Or a bladder connected to a stoma
It’s important for you to take very good care of yourself before, during, and after cancer treatment. Taking care of yourself includes eating well so you get the right amount of calories to maintain a good weight. You also need enough protein to keep up your strength. Eating well may help you feel better and have more energy.
You’ll need regular checkups (such as every 3 to 6 months) after bladder cancer treatment. Therefore, if you have any health problems between checkups, you should contact your doctor.
Bladder cancer may come back after treatment. So, your doctor will check for return of cancer. Checkups may include a physical exam, blood tests, urine tests, cystoscopy, or CT scans. If you would like more information about potential treatments for bladder cancer please contact us for a consultation.