Bladder Cancer

Overview

The bladder is a muscular, balloon-shaped organ located in the pelvic area, just above the pubic bone. It is lined with layers of muscle tissue that stretch to accommodate urine as it accumulates. This lining is where bladder cancer often begins.

The great majority of bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, when bladder cancer is highly treatable. However, even early-stage bladder cancer is likely to recur. For this reason, bladder cancer survivors may undergo follow-up tests to look for bladder cancer recurrence for years after treatment.

Treatment for bladder cancer depends on the type of tumor, how aggressive it is, and to what extent the tumor has spread. Superficial tumors may only require surgical removal and frequent monitoring to make sure the tumor does not recur. Sometimes, surgery is combined with intravesical therapy. More aggressive treatments are necessary for deeper tumors. These may include:

Intravescal Therapy

This treatment includes introduction of chemotherapy or immunotherapy drugs directly into the bladder through a catheter.

Robotic Cystectomy

This treatment includes surgical removal of part or all of the bladder and possibly its surrounding organs using the da Vinci® SI robotic system.

Systemic Chemotherapy

A systemic therapy passes through the entire body, as opposed to a targeted therapy that goes directly to the tumor. Chemotherapy for bladder cancer is systemic and travels through the bloodstream to nearly all parts of the body.