Radiation for Bladder Cancer

How is Radiation Therapy used for Bladder Cancer?

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy waves to damage the DNA of the cancer cells, effectively killing them. These high-energy waves are generated and radiated from a large machine outside the body and directed toward the tumor. This type of radiotherapy is called External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT). A radiation oncologist will evaluate you to determine whether you may benefit from radiotherapy and calculate the appropriate dose, number of treatments and precise location to target the radiation.

For many patients with advanced invasive bladder cancer, radiotherapy may be part of their treatment plan to as a way to:

  • Avoid surgery and preserve the bladder as part of combined modality therapy (CMT) along with transuretheral surgery (TURBT) and chemotherapy.
  • Relieve symptoms caused by the tumor such as pain or bleeding (called palliative radiotherapy)
  • Treat metastatic disease in the bone and brain using Stereotactic Body Radiosurgery (SBRT) and Gamma Knife Radiosurgery.

Roswell Park is the only facility in the region that offers Gamma Knife Radiosurgery, a minimally-invasive treatment for brain metastases that improves survival and spares healthy brain tissue, reducing long-term side effects and improving quality of life.