Different treatment options are available for bladder cancer, depending on the grade of the cancer and how deeply it has invaded the bladder wall.
The treatment also depends on general health. A doctor will evaluate your condition and suggest an appropriate treatment plan that can be a single or a combination of treatment methods.
If the bladder cancer is still in the superficial (early) stage, treatment includes:
- Follow-ups after treatment, as superficial bladder cancers tend to relapse
- Transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT), a minimally invasive surgery that uses a resectoscope, which is inserted into the bladder through the urethra, to cut the tumour out or burn the cancer cells with an electric current
- Intravesical chemotherapy, which can be used alone or after TURBT, whereby chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into the bladder through a catheter
If the bladder cancer has reached an invasive (advanced) stage, the following treatment options may be advised:
- Biological therapy – using live-attenuated (made less harmful) BCG bacteria to start an immune response against the bladder cancer cells. The bacteria is injected directly into the bladder using a catheter
- Chemotherapy drugs – injected into the veins to circulate in the blood and reach nearly every organ in the body. They can also be taken orally
- Radical cystectomy – a surgery that removes the entire bladder, surrounding lymph nodes and any nearby organs that have become cancerous. The doctor will create a replacement bladder by using a part of the small or large intestine
- Radiotherapy – involves high-energy rays that destroy cancer cells to reduce symptoms caused by the disease