Treatments for Bladder Cancer
Treatments for Bladder Cancer:
Treatment of bladder cancer starts with prevention. Preventive measures include not smoking and avoiding exposure to carcinogens, especially chemicals called arylamines, which increase the risk of developing bladder cancer. Prompt and effective treatment of bladder infections is also important in preventing bladder cancer.
Prevention of bladder cancer also includes seeking regular medical care throughout the lifetime. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to best evaluate the risks of developing bladder cancer and begin early diagnostic testing for such symptoms as a hematuria, urgency, and frequency. These measures greatly increase the chances of catching bladder cancer in its earliest, most curable stage.
The general goal of treatment of bladder cancer is to bring about a complete remission of the disease, in which there is no longer any sign of cancer in the bladder and body.
Treatment plans for bladder cancer are individualized for each person's specific case. Treatment varies depending on the specific type of cancer cells that are causing bladder cancer, the location of the tumor, the stage of advancement, severity of symptoms, a patient's age and medical history, and other factors. Treatment for bladder cancer is best planned and delivered by a team of specialists in care. These specialists may include a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, and registered nurses who specialize in cancer care.
Some types of early stage cancerous tumors of the bladder may be removed during a procedure called a cystoscopy. In a cystoscopy, a special instrument called a cystoscope is inserted into the bladder through the urethra in order to visualize and remove the tumor. Treatment for some early stage forms of bladder cancer may include the instillation of a chemotherapy or immunotherapy solution directly into the bladder.
In more advanced forms of bladder cancer, all or a portion of the bladder may need to be removed. This procedure may be followed by treatment with radiation therapy and chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells. Surgery generally also includes reconstructive procedures that create a new place to store urine in place of the bladder.
For people whose bladder cancer has progressed to a very advanced stage, has metastasized extensively, and has become terminal, the goals of treatment may change. Treatment then may shift away from curing the disease and focus on measures to keep a person comfortable and maximize the quality of life. This treatment may be administered through a hospice program.
Treatment List for Bladder Cancer
The list of treatments mentioned in various sources
for Bladder Cancer
includes the following list.
Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment
or change in treatment plans.
Alternative Treatments for Bladder Cancer
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Bladder Cancer may include:
Bladder Cancer: Is the Diagnosis Correct?
The first step in getting correct treatment is
to get a correct diagnosis.
Differential diagnosis list for Bladder Cancer may include:
Hidden causes of Bladder Cancer may be incorrectly diagnosed:
- Tobacco smoking
- Occupations at risk are metal industry workers, rubber industry workers, workers in the textile industry, and people who work in printing, auto mechanics have an elevated risk of bladder cancer due to their frequent exposure to hydrocarbons and petroleum-based chemicals. Hairdressers are thought to be at risk as well because of their frequent exposure to permanent hair dyes
- Certain drugs such as cyclophosphamide and phenacetin
- Chronic bladder irritation (infection, bladder stones, catheters, bilharzia) predisposes to squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder
- more causes...»
Bladder Cancer: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers
Products, offers and promotion categories available for Bladder Cancer:
Bladder Cancer: Research Doctors & Specialists
- Cancer Specialists:
- Urinary & Bladder Specialists (Urology):
- Kidney Health Specialists (Nephrology):
- more specialists...»
Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.
Drugs and Medications used to treat Bladder Cancer:
Note:You must always seek professional medical advice about any prescription drug, OTC drug, medication, treatment
or change in treatment plans.
Some of the different medications used in the treatment of Bladder Cancer include:
Unlabeled Drugs and Medications to treat Bladder Cancer:
Unlabelled alternative drug treatments for Bladder Cancer include:
Hospital statistics for Bladder Cancer:
These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Bladder Cancer:
- 0.63% (79,934) of hospital consultant episodes were for malignant neoplasm of bladder in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 96% of hospital consultant episodes for malignant neoplasm of bladder required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 75% of hospital consultant episodes for malignant neoplasm of bladder were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- 25% of hospital consultant episodes for malignant neoplasm of bladder were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
- more hospital information...»
Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Bladder Cancer
Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures
for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Bladder Cancer:
Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »
Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital:
More general information, not necessarily in relation to Bladder Cancer,
on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:
Medical news summaries about treatments for Bladder Cancer:
The following medical news items
are relevant to treatment of Bladder Cancer:
Discussion of treatments for Bladder Cancer:
What You Need To Know About Bladder Cancer: NCI (Excerpt)
The doctor may refer patients to doctors who specialize in
treating cancer, or patients may ask for a referral. Treatment
generally begins within a few weeks after the diagnosis. There
will be time for patients to talk with the doctor about
treatment choices, get a second opinion, and learn more about
bladder cancer. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Bladder Cancer: NCI)
What You Need To Know About Bladder Cancer: NCI (Excerpt)
People with bladder cancer have many treatment options.
They may have surgery ,
therapy , chemotherapy ,
therapy . Some patients get a combination of
The doctor is the best person to describe treatment choices
and discuss the expected results of treatment.
A patient may want to talk to the doctor about taking part
in a clinical
trial , a research study of new treatment methods.
Clinical trials are an important option for people with all
stages of bladder cancer. The section on "The
Promise of Cancer Research " has more information about
Surgery is a common treatment for bladder cancer.
The type of surgery depends largely on the stage and grade of
the tumor. The doctor can explain each type of surgery and
discuss which is most suitable for the patient:
resection : The doctor may treat early
(superficial) bladder cancer with transurethral resection
(TUR). During TUR, the doctor inserts a cystoscope into the
bladder through the urethra. The doctor then uses a tool
with a small wire loop on the end to remove the cancer and
to burn away any remaining cancer cells with an electric
current. (This is called fulguration .)
The patient may need to be in the hospital and may need
anesthesia. After TUR, patients may also have chemotherapy
or biological therapy.
cystectomy : For invasive bladder cancer, the
most common type of surgery is radical cystectomy .
The doctor also chooses this type of surgery when
superficial cancer involves a large part of the bladder.
Radical cystectomy is the removal of the entire bladder, the
nearby lymph nodes, part of the urethra, and the nearby
organs that may contain cancer cells. In men, the nearby
organs that are removed are the prostate, seminal
vesicles , and part of the vas
deferens . In women, the uterus, ovaries ,
tubes , and part of the vagina are removed.
cystectomy : In some cases, the doctor may remove
only part of the bladder in a procedure called segmental
cystectomy. The doctor chooses this type of surgery when a
patient has a low-grade cancer that has invaded the bladder
wall in just one area.
Sometimes, when the cancer has spread outside the bladder
and cannot be completely removed, the surgeon removes the
bladder but does not try to get rid of all the cancer. Or, the
surgeon does not remove the bladder but makes another way for
urine to leave the body. The goal of the surgery may be to
relieve urinary blockage or other symptoms caused by the
When the entire bladder is removed, the surgeon makes
another way to collect urine. The patient may wear a bag
outside the body, or the surgeon may create a pouch inside the
body with part of the intestine. The sections on "Side
Effects of Treatment " and "Rehabilitation "
have more information about these procedures.
These are some questions a patient may want to ask
the doctor about surgery:
What kind of operation will it be?
How will I feel afterward?
What will you do for me if I have pain?
How long will I have to stay in the hospital?
Will I have any long-term effects?
When can I get back to my normal activities?
Will I urinate in a normal way?
Will the surgery affect my sex life?
How often will I need
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses
high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Like surgery, radiation
therapy is local
therapy . It affects cancer cells only in the treated
A small number of patients may have radiation therapy
before surgery to shrink the tumor. Others may have it after
surgery to kill cancer cells that may remain in the area.
Sometimes, patients who cannot have surgery have radiation
Doctors use two types of radiation therapy to treat bladder
radiation : A large machine outside the body aims
radiation at the tumor area. Most people receiving external
radiation are treated 5 days a week for 5 to 7 weeks as an
outpatient. This schedule helps protect healthy cells and
tissues by spreading out the total dose of radiation.
Treatment may be shorter when external radiation is given
along with radiation implants.
radiation : The doctor places a small container
of a radioactive
substance into the bladder through the urethra or through an
in the abdomen. The patient stays in the hospital for
several days during this treatment. To protect others from
radiation exposure, patients may not be able to have
visitors or may have visitors for only a short period of
time while the implant is in place. Once the implant is
removed, no radioactivity is left in the body.
Some patients with bladder cancer receive both kinds of
These are some questions a patient may want to ask
the doctor about radiation therapy:
Why do I need this therapy?
How will the radiation be given?
Will I need to stay in the hospital? For how
When will the treatments begin? When will they
How will I feel during therapy? Are there side
What can I do to take care of myself during
How will we know if the radiation is working?
Will I be able to continue my normal activities
How often will I need
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. The
doctor may use one drug or a combination of drugs.
For patients with superficial bladder cancer, the doctor
may use intravesical
chemotherapy after removing the cancer with TUR. This is local
therapy. The doctor inserts a tube (catheter )
through the urethra and puts liquid drugs in the bladder
through the catheter. The drugs remain in the bladder for
several hours. They mainly affect the cells in the bladder.
Usually, the patient has this treatment once a week for
several weeks. Sometimes, the treatments continue once or
several times a month for up to a year.
If the cancer has deeply invaded the bladder or spread to
lymph nodes or other organs, the doctor may give drugs through
a vein. This treatment is called intravenous
chemotherapy. It is systemic
therapy , meaning that the drugs flow through the
bloodstream to nearly every part of the body. The drugs are
usually given in cycles so that a recovery period follows
every treatment period.
The patient may have chemotherapy alone or combined with
surgery, radiation therapy, or both. Usually chemotherapy is
an outpatient treatment given at the hospital, clinic, or at
the doctor's office. However, depending on which drugs are
given and the patient's general health, the patient may need a
short hospital stay.
Biological therapy (also called immunotherapy) uses
the body's natural ability (immune
system ) to fight cancer. Biological therapy is most
often used after TUR for superficial bladder cancer. This
helps prevent the cancer from coming back.
The doctor may use intravesical biological therapy with
solution . BCG solution contains live, weakened bacteria .
The bacteria stimulate the immune system to kill cancer cells
in the bladder. The doctor uses a catheter to put the solution
in the bladder. The patient must hold the solution in the
bladder for about 2 hours. BCG treatment is usually done once
a week for 6 weeks.
Patients may want to ask these questions about
chemotherapy or biological therapy:
Why do I need this treatment?
What drug will I get? How will it be given? What
will it do?
Will I have side effects? What can I do about
How long will I be on this treatment?
How often will I need
Side Effects of Cancer Treatment
Because cancer treatment may damage healthy cells and
tissues, unwanted side
effects sometimes occur. These side effects depend on
many factors, including the type and extent of the treatment.
Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may
even change from one treatment session to the next. Doctors
and nurses will explain the possible side effects of treatment
and how they will help the patient manage them.
The NCI provides helpful booklets about cancer treatments
and coping with side effects, such as Radiation
Therapy and You, Chemotherapy
and You, and Eating
Hints for Cancer Patients. See the "National
Cancer Institute Information Resources " and "National
Cancer Institute Booklets " sections for other sources
of information about side effects.
For a few days after TUR, patients may have some blood in
their urine and difficulty or pain when urinating. Otherwise,
TUR generally causes few problems.
After cystectomy, most patients are uncomfortable during
the first few days. However, medicine can control the pain.
Patients should feel free to discuss pain relief with the
doctor or nurse. Also, it is common to feel tired or weak for
a while. The length of time it takes to recover from an
operation varies for each person.
After segmental cystectomy, patients may not be able to
hold as much urine in their bladder as they used to, and they
may need to urinate more often. In most cases, this problem is
temporary, but some patients may have long-lasting changes in
how much urine they can hold.
If the surgeon removes the bladder, the patient needs a new
way to store and pass urine. In one common method, the surgeon
uses a piece of the person's small
intestine to form a new tube through which urine can
pass. The surgeon attaches one end of the tube to the ureters
and connects the other end to a new opening in the wall of the
abdomen. This opening is called a stoma .
A flat bag fits over the stoma to collect urine, and a special
adhesive holds it in place. The operation to create the stoma
is called a urostomy
or an ostomy .
The section called "Rehabilitation
after Bladder Cancer " has more information about how
patients learn to care for the stoma.
For some patients, the doctor is able to use a part of the
small intestine to make a storage pouch (called a continent
reservoir ) inside the body. Urine collects in the
pouch instead of going into a bag. The surgeon connects the
pouch to the urethra or to a stoma. If the surgeon connects
the pouch to a stoma, the patient uses a catheter to drain the
Bladder cancer surgery may affect a person's sexual
function. Because the surgeon removes the uterus and ovaries
in a radical cystectomy, women are not able to get pregnant.
occurs at once. Hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause
caused by surgery may be more severe than those caused by
natural menopause. Many women take hormone replacement therapy
(HRT) to relieve these problems. If the surgeon removes part
of the vagina during a radical cystectomy, sexual intercourse
may be difficult.
In the past, nearly all men were impotent
after radical cystectomy, but improvements in surgery have
made it possible for some men to avoid this problem. Men who
have had their prostate gland and seminal vesicles removed no
longer produce semen ,
so they have dry
orgasms . Men who wish to father children may consider
banking before surgery or sperm
retrieval later on.
It is natural for a patient to worry about the effects of
bladder cancer surgery on sexuality. Patients may want to talk
with the doctor about possible side effects and how long these
side effects are likely to last. Whatever the outlook, it may
be helpful for patients and their partners to talk about their
feelings and help one another find ways to share intimacy
during and after treatment.
The side effects of radiation therapy depend mainly on the
treatment dose and the part of the body that is treated.
Patients are likely to become very tired during radiation
therapy, especially in the later weeks of treatment. Resting
is important, but doctors usually advise patients to try to
stay as active as they can.
External radiation may permanently darken or "bronze" the
skin in the treated area. Patients commonly lose hair in the
treated area and their skin may become red, dry, tender, and
itchy. These problems are temporary, and the doctor can
suggest ways to relieve them.
Radiation therapy to the abdomen may cause nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea, or urinary discomfort. The doctor can
suggest medicines to ease these problems.
Radiation therapy also may cause a decrease in the number
of white blood cells, cells that help protect the body against
infection. If the blood counts are low, the doctor or nurse
may suggest ways to avoid getting an infection. Also, the
patient may not get more radiation therapy until blood counts
improve. The doctor will check the patient's blood counts
regularly and change the treatment schedule if it is
For both men and women, radiation treatment for bladder
cancer can affect sexuality. Women may experience vaginal
dryness, and men may have difficulty with erections.
Although the side effects of radiation therapy can be
distressing, the doctor can usually treat or control them. It
also helps to know that, in most cases, side effects are not
The side effects of chemotherapy depend mainly on the drugs
and the doses the patient receives as well as how the drugs
are given. In addition, as with other types of treatment, side
effects vary from patient to patient.
Anticancer drugs that are placed in the bladder cause
irritation, with some discomfort or bleeding that lasts for a
few days after treatment. Some drugs may cause a rash when
they come into contact with the skin or genitals.
Systemic chemotherapy affects rapidly dividing cells
throughout the body, including blood cells. Blood cells fight
infection, help the blood to clot, and carry oxygen to all
parts of the body. When anticancer drugs damage blood cells,
patients are more likely to get infections, may bruise or
bleed easily, and may have less energy. Cells in hair roots
and cells that line the digestive tract also divide rapidly.
As a result, patients may lose their hair and may have other
side effects such as poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, or
mouth sores. Usually, these side effects go away gradually
during the recovery periods between treatments or after
treatment is over.
Certain drugs used in the treatment of bladder cancer also
may cause kidney damage. To protect the kidneys, patients need
a lot of fluid. The nurse may give the patient fluids by vein
before and after treatment. Also, the patient may need to
drink a lot of fluids during treatment with these drugs.
Certain anticancer drugs can also cause tingling in the
fingers, ringing in the ears, or hearing loss. These problems
may go away after treatment stops.
BCG therapy can irritate the bladder. Patients may feel an
urgent need to urinate, and may need to urinate frequently.
Patients also may have pain, especially when urinating. They
may feel tired. Some patients may have blood in their urine,
nausea, a low-grade fever, or chills.
Patients need to eat well during cancer therapy. They need
enough calories to maintain a good weight and protein to keep
up strength. Good nutrition often helps people with cancer
feel better and have more energy.
But eating well can be difficult. Patients may not feel
like eating if they are uncomfortable or tired. Also, the side
effects of treatment, such as poor appetite, nausea, or
vomiting, can be a problem. Foods may taste different.
The doctor, dietitian, or other health care provider can
suggest ways to maintain a healthy diet. Patients and their
families may want to read the National Cancer Institute
Hints for Cancer Patients, which contains many useful
ideas and recipes. The "National
Cancer Institute Booklets " section tells how to get this
Rehabilitation is an important part of cancer care. The
health care team makes every effort to help the patient return
to normal activities as soon as possible.
Patients who have a stoma need to learn to care for it.
therapists or nurses can help. These health care
specialists often visit patients before surgery to discuss
what to expect. They teach patients how to care for themselves
and their stomas after surgery. They talk with patients about
lifestyle issues, including emotional, physical, and sexual
concerns. Often they can provide information about resources
and support groups.
Followup care after treatment for bladder cancer is
important. Bladder cancer can return in the bladder or
elsewhere in the body. Therefore, people who have had bladder
cancer may wish to discuss the chance of recurrence with the
If the bladder was not removed, the doctor will perform
cystoscopy and remove any new superficial tumors that are
found. Patients also may have urine tests to check for signs
of cancer. Followup care may also include blood tests, x-rays,
or other tests.
People should not hesitate to discuss followup care with
the doctor. Regular followup ensures that the doctor will
notice changes so that any problems can be treated as soon as
possible. Between checkups, people who have had bladder cancer
should report any health problems as soon as they appear. (Source: excerpt from What You Need To Know About Bladder Cancer: NCI)
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