How is Bladder Cancer Treated?

Depending on your specific bladder cancer type and stage, your treatment plan will likely involve more than one type of therapy, from more than one type of oncologist. This is why it’s so important to seek cancer care from a multidisciplinary physician team of urologists (who are surgeons), medical and radiation oncologists and other specialists who work together to deliver your treatment with the most beneficial timing and sequence. Your treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • Surgery that may involve Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT) to remove just the tumor, or cystectomy that removes the entire bladder and sometimes reproductive organs, too.
  • Intravesical therapy delivers liquid medicine directly into the bladder. This treatment usually follows surgery that removes the tumor from the bladder but leaves the bladder intact.
  • Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy may be placed directly in the bladder (intravesical therapy) or delivered through an IV (systemic therapy), either before or after surgery to remove the bladder.
  • Combined Modality Therapy (CMT) is a bladder-preserving option for patients unable to undergo surgery due to other medical problems.
  • Radiation therapy may be used as part of a bladder-preserving treatment instead of surgery, or to relieve pain if cancer has spread to the bones.
  • Immunotherapy uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to stimulate the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
  • Clinical trials offer access to the very latest treatment options including the newest chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs and combinations.

Roswell Park is able to offer many cutting-edge therapies that are unavailable elsewhere in the region through our robust research program. Learn more about the novel therapies we have in clinical trials.

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