Treatment for bladder cancer

There are many different types of treatment for bladder cancer. Your treatment will depend on you and your cancer.

Treatment for bladder cancer will depend on a number of things such as your type of bladder cancer, your medical history and personal preferences for treatment.

Treatments for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer include: 1

  • Surgery – a procedure known as a transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) can be done which removes or destroys the tumour via inserting a tube with a camera in the urethra (where your urine comes out). This procedure is done under general anaesthetic and takes approximately 30 minutes.
  • Chemotherapy – uses drugs to kill the cancer cells by inserting a catheter (soft tube) directly into the bladder via the urethra (called intravesical chemotherapy).
  • Immunotherapy via the use of a vaccine (known as Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)) which was once used to treat tuberculosis, can increase the body’s natural immune system to stop the growth of the cancer cells in the bladder.

Treatments for muscle-invasive bladder cancer include: 2

  • Surgery – the removal of the whole bladder is a common surgical treatment in cases where the cancer has spread to the muscle.
  • Chemotherapy – involves the use of specific drugs to kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy to treat muscle-invasive bladder cancer usually involves intravenous therapy (drugs given by injection into the vein). This type of chemotherapy is known as systemic.
  • Radiation therapy – can be used instead of surgery to treat muscle-invasive bladder cancer. It can also be used at the same time as chemotherapy to help maximise treatment outcomes.
  • Immunotherapy – is a treatment option for muscle-invasive bladder cancer which has metastasised (spread to distant areas of the body).


For a full list of references, click here.
  1. Cancer Council. (2018). Treatments for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Retrieved on 1st May 2019 from
  2. Cancer Council. (2018). Treatments for muscle-invasive bladder cancer. Retrieved on 1st May 2019 from

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