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What are the treatments available for Bladder Cancer?

Key Takeaways:

  1. Bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the US and affects
  2. men and women.Treatment options for bladder cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and clinical trials.
  3. Consult with a medical professional such as a urologist to discuss treatment options and understand any potential risks or side effects of treatment.

Bladder cancer affects over 67,000 Americans each year and is the ninth most common cancer in the United States. While bladder cancer is more common in men, both genders are susceptible to developing the condition. As with any form of cancer, it is important to be aware of all available treatments and consult with a urologist or medical professional to create an individualized treatment plan.

The types of treatment available for bladder cancer depend on the stage and type of the condition, as well as the patient’s overall health and personal preferences. Common treatments for bladder cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.

I. Introduction

A. Overview of Bladder Cancer
Most frequently, bladder cancer begins in the cells that line the bladder and is classified into urothelial cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, adenocarcinomas, and small cell carcinomas. Urothelial cell carcinomas are the most common type and account for approximately 90% of all bladder cancer cases. 

B. Types of Treatment for Bladder Cancer
The primary treatments available for bladder cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and clinical trials.

II. Diagnosing Bladder Cancer

A. How Bladder Cancer is Diagnosed
The most common tests used to screen for bladder cancer are urine tests, cystoscopy and imaging tests. Urine tests can detect red blood cells, cancer cells, and other substances in a patient’s urine. Cystoscopy allows a doctor to closely examine the bladder and urinary tract using a device that has a tiny camera and a light. Imaging tests such as B-scan ultrasonography and computer-based tomography scans can be used to evaluate the entire urinary tract, and can determine if the cancer has spread.

B. Importance of Early Diagnosis
It is important to diagnose and treat bladder cancer as early as possible. Detecting bladder cancer early can help to reduce the risk of cancer advancing and spreading to other organs.

III. Surgery

A. Types of Bladder Cancer Surgical Procedures
Some of the most commonly used surgical treatments for bladder cancer include transurethral resection of a bladder tumor (TURBT), radical cystectomy, and urinary diversion. TURBT is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove tumors from the bladder lining. It can also be used to diagnose bladder cancer. Radical cystectomy is the surgical removal of the bladder and surrounding organs. Urinary diversion connects the kidneys to an alternate waste collection system or organ, such as a ureter pouch or the intestines. 

B. Benefits of Surgery
Surgery offers the greatest potential for curing bladder cancer, as it is the only method that removes the cancer altogether in most cases. It is often used as the primary treatment for a bladder tumor and may also be used in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

IV. Chemotherapy

A. How Chemotherapy Works
Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. For bladder cancer, this means delivering chemotherapeutic medications directly to the bladder cavity through a catheter. This is known as intravesical chemotherapy. Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with surgery.

B. Common Side Effects
Common side effects of chemotherapy can include infection, fatigue, and diarrhea. Depending on the drugs supplied, other side effects may include hair loss, anemia, and an increased risk of developing other types of cancer.

V. Radiation Therapy

A. How Radiation Therapy is Used to Treat Bladder Cancer
Radiation therapy uses high energy rays to damage cancer cells and may be used as a primary treatment for bladder cancer or as an aid to surgery. It may also be used to reduce tumor size prior to a surgical procedure. Radiation therapy is most commonly delivered in the form of external beam radiation or internal radiation therapy known as brachytherapy.

B. Types of Radiation Therapy
External beam radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to target external cancer cells. Brachytherapy involves directly placing radioactive materials inside the bladder, allowing for a more concentrated dose of radiation than external beam radiation.

VI. Immunotherapy

A. How Immunotherapy is Used to Treat Bladder Cancer
Immunotherapy is the use of medications to stimulate or restore the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Many of these medications are dosed intravenously or as injections, and are used to treat advanced bladder cancer that has spread outside of the bladder.

B. Advantages and Disadvantages
One advantage of immunotherapy is that it may help to reduce the amount of chemotherapy and radiation therapy needed to treat bladder cancer. If a patient’s tumor has not responded well to chemotherapy and radiation, immunotherapy may provide an alternative treatment option. One disadvantage is that immunotherapy can cause an increase in immune-related side effects such as rash, fever, and inflammation.

VII. Clinical Trials

A. What is a Clinical Trial
A clinical trial is an organized clinical study of treatments that have not been approved for the general public. Participating in a clinical trial can provide access to new treatments that may otherwise not be available. Furthermore, trials help doctors and other researchers to better understand disease and its treatments.

B. Participation in Treatment Trials
Individuals participating in clinical trials are carefully monitored by a team of medical professionals, and can be asked to provide information about their symptoms, treatment response, and life quality. Some studies also provide compensation to participants.

VIII. Conclusion

A. Summary of Treatment Options for Bladder Cancer
The available treatments for bladder cancer generally involve one or a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and clinical trials. Each treatment option offers benefits, and each carries its own risks and side effects.

B. Importance of Consulting with a Medical Professional
Prior to undergoing any kind of treatment to treat bladder cancer, it is important to consult with a medical professional such as a urologist. Your medical professional can provide information on available treatment options and provide a personalized treatment plan depending on your situation and overall health.

Advanced Urology Institute is the largest urology practice in Florida, offering comprehensive, advanced urologic care in a warm and welcoming environment. Our experienced team of board-certified experts utilize the latest breakthroughs in urology and minimally invasive therapies to provide patients with the best experience possible. Visit our website or call us today to learn more about how Advanced Urology Institute can provide the best care for your urologic needs.


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Advanced Urology Institute

Advanced Urology Institute is the largest urology practice in Florida. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our patients by providing excellent Patient-Centered Care. Set an appointment or visit our closest office near you.

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