Bladder Cancer Therapies

Therapies for bladder cancer include removing a tumor, regularly examining the lining of the bladder with a cystoscope, and placing various anticancer agents into the bladder. Radiation therapy delivers high-energy particles to prevent cells from growing and dividing. Removal of bladder with reconstruction of a neobladder.

Tumor Removal
Tumor removal is a surgical procedure to remove an abnormal growth. Once surgical removal has been decided, an oncologic surgeon will remove the tumor whole, taking with it a large section of the surrounding normal tissue. The healthy tissue is removed to minimize the risk of possible seeding.
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Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-dose X-rays or other types of radiation to destroy bladder cancer cells. It may be used alone, before surgery to shrink the cancer, or after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy may also be used if a person with bladder cancer cannot have surgery.

External beam radiation comes from a machine outside the body. The machine aims radiation at the cancer area. Most people who receive external beam radiation therapy for bladder cancer are treated 5 days a week for 6 to 7 weeks as an outpatient.

Internal (interstitial) radiation therapy (brachytherapy) uses radioactive material contained in tiny tubes, wires, or beads. These are surgically placed in or near the tumor.
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When cancer invades the muscle wall of the bladder it is usually necessary to surgically remove the entire bladder. If the cancer hasn’t spread too far however, it is often possible to create a new bladder, also called a neobladder, using tissue from your intestines.

Neobladders are positioned inside your body in the same position as your original bladder. The kidneys will filter your system as they always did and deposit urine into your neobladder which will hold the urine until you are able to release it. Most patients are able to learn how to control the release of urine from the neobladder much like they did with a normal bladder.
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