Bladder Cancer - Diagnosis & Treatment

How is bladder cancer treated?

Different treatment options are available, and the right one depends on the grade of the cancer, how much it has invaded the bladder wall, and the person's general health.

If the bladder cancer is still in the superficial (early) stage, treatment includes:

  • TURBT, a minimally invasive surgery that uses a resectoscope, which is inserted into the bladder through the urethra, to cut the tumour out or burn the cancer cells with an electric current
  • Intravesical chemotherapy, which can be used alone or after TURBT, where chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into the bladder through a catheter
  • Follow-up treatments, as superficial bladder cancers tend to relapse

If the bladder cancer has reached an invasive (advanced) stage, the following treatment options may be advised:

  • Biological therapy, which uses live-attenuated (made less harmful) Bacillus Calmette-Guerin bacteria to start an immune response against the bladder cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy drugs, which are either taken orally or injected into the veins to circulate in the blood and reach nearly every organ in the body
  • Radical cystectomy, a surgery that removes the entire bladder, surrounding lymph nodes, and any nearby organs that have become cancerous
  • Radiotherapy, which involves high-energy rays that destroy cancer cells to reduce symptoms caused by the disease
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