Treatment / Bladder Procedures for Cancer

Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumour, Radical Cystectomy
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Bladder Cancer Treatments

Bladder cancer treatment involves a combination of medical approaches tailored to an individual’s diagnosis. Understanding the depth of each treatment helps in making informed decisions. Let’s delve deeper into these treatments, their nuances, and their applicability.

Detailed Treatment Options

  1. Surgery:
    • Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT):
      • Application: Often the first treatment for non-muscle invasive bladder cancers.
      • Procedure: A cystoscope is inserted into the bladder to remove cancer or burn it away.
    • Cystectomy:
      • Application: Used for muscle-invasive cancers or recurrent, high-grade non-muscle invasive cancers.
      • Types:
        • Partial Cystectomy: Only the portion of the bladder containing the cancer cells is removed.
        • Radical Cystectomy: The entire bladder and possibly nearby tissues and organs are removed. Men might have the prostate and seminal vesicles removed, and women might have the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and part of the vagina removed.
  2. Intravesical Therapy:
    • Application: After TURBT to prevent cancer recurrence or progression.
    • Immunotherapy with BCG:
      • Procedure: Introducing a weakened form of TB bacteria directly into the bladder to stimulate the immune system.
    • Chemotherapy:
      • Procedure: Using drugs like mitomycin to directly kill cancer cells in the bladder.
  3. Chemotherapy:
    • Application: To shrink the tumor before surgery or radiation or kill lingering cancer cells post-surgery.
    • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy: Administered before surgery.
    • Adjuvant chemotherapy: Given after surgery. Used when there’s a higher risk of the cancer returning.
  4. Radiation Therapy:
    • Application: For those who can’t undergo surgery or in tandem with chemotherapy as an alternative to surgery.
    • Procedure: High energy beams (like X-rays) target and kill cancer cells. External beam radiation therapy is commonly used for bladder cancer.
  5. Immunotherapy:
    • Application: Especially for advanced and metastatic bladder cancers.
    • Procedure: Drugs like checkpoint inhibitors enhance the body’s natural defenses by targeting cancer cells, ensuring they don’t “hide” from the immune system.
  6. Targeted Therapy:
    • Application: Used when bladder cancer has specific mutations.
    • Procedure: Drugs like erdafitinib target abnormalities in cancer cells. They can block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with molecular targets.

Factors Influencing Treatment Choice

Treatment options are influenced by:

  • Stage and Grade of Cancer: Advanced stages might require aggressive treatments.
  • Type of Bladder Cancer: Certain treatments are more effective on specific types.
  • Patient’s Overall Health: General health can influence the body’s response to treatments.
  • Treatment Side Effects: Balancing the benefits of treatment against potential side effects.
  • Patient’s Preferences: Some might prioritise quality of life over aggressive treatment.


While a diagnosis of bladder cancer can be overwhelming, it’s important to remember that medical advancements have made it possible to treat and manage this condition effectively. Collaboration with your healthcare team informed decision-making, and accessing trusted resources can optimise the outcomes and enhance the quality of life during and after treatment. A deeper understanding of each treatment option empowers patients to participate actively in their healthcare journey. Please follow the links below for more detailed information about bladder cancer and its treatments. 

Follow-Up Care

After treatment, regular follow-ups are essential to:

  • Monitor for any signs of cancer recurrence.
  • Check for side effects and manage them.
  • Ensure physical and emotional recovery.

External Links for Further Reading

  1. Cancer Research UK – Bladder Cancer Treatment (UK)
  2. Macmillan Cancer Support – Bladder Cancer (UK)
  3. American Cancer Society – Treating Bladder Cancer (US)
  4. Mayo Clinic – Bladder Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment (US)
  5. National Cancer Institute – Bladder Cancer Treatment (US)