Bladder Cancer treatment

Treatment for bladder cancer depends on several factors, including the stage and grade of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and their preferences. Here’s an overview of the common treatment options:

  1. Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT):
    • TURBT is often the first treatment for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the cancerous tumor from the bladder lining using a cystoscope inserted through the urethra.
  2. Intravesical Therapy:
    • Following TURBT, some patients receive intravesical therapy, where medications are instilled directly into the bladder through a catheter. This can include immunotherapy with Bacillus Calmette-GuĂ©rin (BCG) or chemotherapy drugs like mitomycin C, to help prevent recurrence or progression of the cancer.
  3. Radical Cystectomy:
    • Radical cystectomy involves the surgical removal of the entire bladder along with nearby lymph nodes. In men, removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles may also be necessary, while in women, the uterus, ovaries, and part of the vagina may be removed. This procedure is typically recommended for muscle-invasive bladder cancer or non-muscle-invasive cancer that has not responded to other treatments.
  4. Chemotherapy:
    • Chemotherapy may be used before or after surgery (neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy) for muscle-invasive bladder cancer to help shrink tumors, reduce the risk of recurrence, or treat cancer that has spread beyond the bladder. Chemotherapy may also be used as the primary treatment for patients who are not candidates for surgery.
  5. Radiation Therapy:
    • Radiation therapy may be used as part of the treatment for bladder cancer, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy. It is often used for patients who are not candidates for surgery or as palliative treatment to relieve symptoms in advanced cases.
  6. Immunotherapy:
    • Immunotherapy drugs such as pembrolizumab, atezolizumab, and nivolumab may be used to treat advanced or metastatic bladder cancer that has progressed despite other treatments. These drugs work by helping the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.
  7. Targeted Therapy:
    • Targeted therapy drugs, such as erdafitinib and enfortumab vedotin, may be used for advanced bladder cancer that has specific genetic mutations. These drugs target specific pathways involved in cancer growth and may be used when other treatments have failed.

The treatment plan is often determined by a multidisciplinary team of specialists, including urologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and pathologists, who work together to provide personalized care based on the individual patient’s needs and preferences. Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor for any signs of recurrence or complications.

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