Nonsurgical and surgical therapies

Once diagnosed, there may different treatment options for bladder cancer. The specific treatment choice is determined by age, medical history, and the stage of cancer.

Chemotherapy: Powerful drugs can be very effective in killing cancer cells, particularly muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Patients have better results when they have chemotherapy before surgery (versus surgery alone).

Consolidation therapy: Patients with advanced disease or cancer that has spread often benefit from a combined approach that includes chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.

Endoscopic surgery: Along with cystoscopy, a surgeon uses special tools to remove tumors in the bladder, ureters, and kidney. It can also be used to remove part of the bladder (known as partial cystectomy). 

Immunotherapy: GW Cancer Center prides itself in the success of our immunotherapy treatments like Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), particularly for non-muscle invasive cancer. Cancer cells sometimes hide behind normal cells, limiting their ability to be targeted by the body’s own defense system. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (immunotherapy drugs) can block the cancer cell’s ability to hide. Then, the body’s immune system can better find and destroy the cancer cells.

Radiation therapy:  Special machines deliver high-energy radiation rays to tumors. The rays shrink tumors and kill cancer cells.

Robotic surgery: For muscle invasive tumors that require a more aggressive treatment, we offer da Vinci® robotic surgery. Using tiny incisions, we can entirely remove the bladder, ureters or kidney(s) and surrounding tissues and lymph nodes (known as radical cystectomy). The da Vinci® robot offers surgeons more precision, which minimizes potential side effects. This minimally invasive procedure may result in less scarring and shorter hospital stays.