How is Bladder Cancer Treated?

The treatment of bladder cancer varies based on the cancer's stage and grade, the patient's overall health, and personal preferences. Various options are available, each tailored to the specific characteristics of the cancer.

Surgery is a common treatment for bladder cancer, with the type of procedure depending on the cancer stage. Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumor (TURBT) is typically used for non-invasive bladder cancers or early-stage invasive cancers. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the tumor using a wire loop or laser, accessing the bladder through the urethra with a cystoscope.

Partial cystectomy, which involves removing part of the bladder, is suitable for a limited number of cases where cancer is confined to one area of the bladder and hasn't penetrated the bladder wall. Radical cystectomy, the removal of the entire bladder, may also involve removing nearby lymph nodes, part of the urethra, and other organs potentially containing cancer cells. In men, this can include the prostate and seminal vesicles, and in women, the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and part of the vagina.

Intravesical therapy delivers drugs directly into the bladder via a catheter, often following TURBT to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) therapy, an immunotherapy, is commonly used for early-stage bladder cancer. It stimulates the immune system to target bladder cancer cells. Intravesical chemotherapy involves administering cancer-fighting drugs directly into the bladder.

Systemic chemotherapy, which can be administered orally or intravenously, targets cancer cells throughout the body. It can be used before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) to shrink tumors or after surgery (adjuvant therapy) to eliminate remaining cancer cells.

Immunotherapy, particularly checkpoint inhibitors, has shown effectiveness in treating advanced bladder cancer by empowering the immune system to identify and attack cancer cells. Targeted therapy drugs, like erdafitinib (Balversa), specifically target certain characteristics of cancer cells.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. It can be a standalone treatment or combined with chemotherapy, especially for patients unable to undergo surgery.

In conclusion, bladder cancer treatment depends on various factors, including the cancer's stage and grade, the patient's health, and personal preferences. Treatment options include surgery, intravesical therapy, systemic chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended solely for informational purposes. It is not meant to serve as medical advice. For professional medical guidance, please consult your doctor. 

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