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Treating Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer has several treatment options, but the extent of the cancer and the stage of the cancer may help determine which treatment is best. Sometimes, several different treatments are used.

Surgery is the main source of treatment for bladder cancer. There are several different types of surgeries that can be done depending on the severity of the cancer. Part of the bladder, or sometimes even the entire bladder, can be removed with a partial cystectomy. While this surgical procedure is being performed, the lymph nodes in the pelvic area can be taken out as well to screen for cancer. There is also a surgical procedure called transurethral resection that is less invasive. During this procedure, a cystoscope is put inside the bladder via the urethra. The cancer is then cauterized with electricity, or end loops on the wire cuttings can be used to cut cancer out. Fortunateky the vast majority of bladder tumors are non invasive and can be treated via a scope.

Radiation therapy is another optional treatment for bladder cancer. This can be done through a local radiation or an external beam radiation. When using the external beam type of radiation, strong beams of radiation are aimed directly at the location of the cancer, but from the outside of the body. With the internal radiation, pellets of radioactive contents are put into the area that is cancerous. Radiation is also used after surgery has been performed. This is helpful in being sure to kill any cells remaining that could be cancerous. Reoccurrence and progression rates can be decreased with intravesical chemotherapy or immunotherapy such as BCG or Mitomyacin.

Chemotherapy is another treatment alternative for advanced bladder cancer. The drug can be taken orally or through an IV through the muscles, or directly placed into the bladder. If chemotherapy is done before surgery, the hope is that it will shrink any tumors. If it is used after surgery, it is used to alleviate the chance of reoccurrence or to kill any leftover cancerous cells. Often times, chemotherapy medications are combined.

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