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Disclaimer Oncology - Cancer - bladder cancer - treatment
Your gateway to information on bladder cancer

Bladder Cancer

How is bladder cancer treated?
Stage and extend of the bladder cancer dictates the treatment plan. Early bladder cancers are often treated by the urologist. Treatment decision on advanced bladder cancer is often taken by a specialist team, which often includes an oncologist, urologist and radiation oncologist.

Cancer confined to the most Superficial layers of the bladder
The standard treatment for bladder cancer which is mainly confined to the most superficial layers of the bladder is surgical removal using a cystoscope. Patients who are at higher risk for reappearance of cancer may also receive bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) therapy after surgery. BCG uses inactivated tuberculosis bacteria to produce an inflammatory response in the bladder that controls tumor growth.

Cancer involving the more deeper layers of the bladder
Removal of bladder by surgery the most common treatment for bladder cancer that is involving the deeper layers and the provides the best chance for a cure of the disease. The surrounding lymph nodes should be removed with the bladder during the surgery. In women, the lower portion of ureters, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and sometimes part of the vaginal wall and the urethra also may be removed. In men, the prostate gland, the lower portion of the ureters, and the urethra may also have to be removed. The surgeon creates may create an artificial bladder using intestine inside or direct the urine flow to a bag outside the body.

Patients who had bladder cancer with involvement of the deeper layers of the bladder may receive chemotherapy to decrease the chance of the cancer coming back. Standard chemotherapy uses four drugs namely Methotrexate, vinblastine , Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and cisplatin (MVAC) (pronounced as emvac). Sometimes chemotherapy is given prior to surgery to decrease the size and extend of the bladder cancer.

Can bladder be preserved?
Depending on the stage, extend and desire of the patient, some patients may have a choice of preserving the bladder and its function. Such patients are usually treated with a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy after removal of the tumor by a cystoscope.
Treatment of bladder cancer which has spread to other organs.
Treatment of bladder cancer, which has spread to other organ (metastatic) like lung, liver, or bones, is chemotherapy. The aim of the treatment is mostly to shrink the size of the tumor and to keep it under control as long as possible. Most common treatment is MVAC which was mentioned above. Bladder cancer may also be treated with a combination of cisplatin and Gemcitabine. Gemcitabine may also being combined with Ifosfamide or Paclitaxel. The combination of cisplatin and gemcitabine appears to be more effective and is associated with less side effects compared to standard MVAC.

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  • Bladder cancer: resources

    Bladder cancer treatment: overview
    Bladder cancer treatment   (National Cancer Institute)
    How Is Bladder Cancer Treated?   (American Cancer Society)
    Treatment Options by Stage   (American Cancer Society)
    Treatment of Bladder Cancer   (Johns Hopkins Pathology)

    Bladder cancer treatment: immunotherapy
    Intravesical Immunotherapy   (American Cancer Society)

    Bladder cancer treatment: surgery
    Surgery for bladder cancer   (American Cancer Society)
    Creating an artificial bladder   (University of Virginia)

    Bladder cancer treatment: radiation therapy
    Radiation Therapy   (American Cancer Society)

    Bladder cancer treatment: chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy   (American Cancer Society)

    Chemotherapy drugs used for bladder cancer
    Methotrexate   (CancerBACUP)
    Vinblastine   (CancerBACUP)
    Adriamycin   (CancerBACUP)
    Cisplatin   (CancerBACUP)
    Gemcitabine   (CancerBACUP)
    Paclitaxel   (CancerBACUP)
    Ifosfamide   (CancerBACUP)

    What is new in bladder cancer research and treatment?
    What's New in Bladder Cancer Research and Treatment?   (American Cancer Society)
    What's New in Bladder Cancer   (Cornell University)

    Clinical trials
    Clinical Trials   (American Cancer Society)
    Clinical Trials   (Johns Hopkins Pathology)
    Clinical Trials: Bladder Cancer   (CenterWatch)

    Bladder cancer: Selected reading

    The Guide to Living With Bladder Cancer   (Mark P. Schoenberg , Johns Hopkins Genitourinary Oncology)
    Beating Cancer With Nutrition   (by Patrick Quillin, Noreen Quillin)
    Bladder cancer: treatment options   (by Medifocus)
    Cancer of the Urinary Bladder   (by William L. Caldwell )
    Renal, Bladder, Prostate and Testicular Cancer   (by CPC Oncologic Urology )

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