Choosing the Treatment That's Right for You
Knowing the stage and grade helps your doctor decide which methods will best treat your cancer. After the stage and grade have been found, your doctor can discuss how to move forward with treatment. Following are some treatment options for bladder cancer.
Removal of a bladder tumor using cystoscope. During your evaluation, your doctor uses cystoscopy to look inside your bladder. If the cancer is in an early state and growing slowly, it may be removed using cystoscopy. Removal of a tumor during cystoscopy is known as transurethral resection (TUR). Most of the time, tissue removed during TUR can be studied to see if more treatment is needed.
Placement of liquid medication directly into the bladder to help destroy cancer cells or keep them from returning. Certain types of bladder tumors are hard to remove using surgical procedures like TUR. These include tumors that are high grade, occur in more than one area, are flat against the bladder wall, or come back after treatment. In these cases, the special medications that destroy cancer cells may be placed into the bladder. This treatment is called intravesical therapy. Intravesical therapy may be an option if you have a hard-to-remove tumor such as CIS. It may also be done after TUR to help keep the cancer from coming back.
Use of intravenous (IV) medications to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy is a way to treat cancer using medications. These medications destroy cancer cells. They are injected directly into the patient’s veins. Chemotherapy may be used alone, or with radiation or surgery. It may help cure or control cancer. It may also help relieve cancer symptoms, such as pain.
Radiation therapy is another way of treating cancer. Radiation therapy uses beams of energy to destroy cancer cells. With each dose, the tumor gets smaller. The cancer cells di and healthy cells take their place. Radiation therapy may be used alone or with chemotherapy, and may be done before or after surgery. Radiation can take place outside or inside you body.
Cystectomy is the surgical removal of the entire bladder. This surgery may be suggested in certain cases of bladder cancer, especially high-grade, high-stage cancer. Your doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of cystectomy with you. If you decide to have surgery, the surgeon can explain the procedure and answer your questions.