Treating bladder cancer
- NON-INVASIVE CANCER
Surgery is the most common treatment method for non-invasive bladder cancer. One or more tumors can be eliminated by cystoscopy. Some patients only require surgery to cure their cancer.
Non-invasive cancer of the bladder may recur on the lining of the bladder and, in some cases, may start to grow into the muscle (invasive bladder cancer). As a result of this, the patient can be given treatment after surgery to lower the risk of this happening.
Depending on the risk of the cancer recurring, the bladder may be treated with chemotherapy or with a vaccine called BCG.
You will have regular cystoscopy procedures during and after the treatment to check on the lining of the bladder. Treatment with chemotherapy or BCG also can be given if the cancer comes back.
Rarely, people who are at a high risk of cancer progression may be advised to undergo an operation to remove their bladder (cystectomy). Usually this is only done when other treatments have been considered.
- INVASIVE CANCER
The type of treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer, its size, and your overall state of health. The aim of the treatment may be to cure the cancer or try to control it or relieve the symptoms it causes.
Patients with invasive bladder cancer that has not spread into other parts of the body are given treatment to cure the cancer. If the treatment doesn't cure the cancer, it may control it for a long time. Surgery and radiotherapy are the main treatments.
Surgery consists of removing the entire bladder (cystectomy) and building a duct through which the patient may urinate (urinary derivation).
Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells while salvaging the bladder. This treatment causes side effects, and in some patients these may be long-lasting. Radiotherapy may be a better option if there are health conditions that prevent surgery.
- HOW IS THE TREATMENT PLANNED?
Your treatment will be planned by a group of specialists who will meet to discuss and agree upon the best possible treatment plan for you.
This multidisciplinary team will include:
- A surgeon (who specializes in your type of cancer)
- A urologist - a surgeon who specializes in treating cancers of the bladder
- A medical oncologist
- A radiotherapy oncologist
- Radiologists who help analyze x-rays and scans.
- Pathologists who advise on the type and extent of the cancer.
Other health professionals may be included, such as a palliative care doctor (who is specialized in controlling symptoms), a nutritionist, a physical therapist, and occupational therapists, and a psychologist.
- BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS OF THE TREATMENT
You may feel afraid of cancer treatment due to the side effects it can have. Although treatments for esophageal cancer can produce adverse effects, you will be given help to control them.
The treatment can be given for various reasons and the possible benefits vary from person to person and from situation to situation. Your doctor can tell you whether the primary aim of the treatment is to cure the cancer, control it for some time, or reduce the symptoms and improve quality of life. They can also tell you about the possible side effects of the treatment and whether these are temporary or permanent.