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).