Different kinds of bladder cancer respond differently to treatment. Treatment and recovery rates depend on how far into the bladder’s layers the cancer has grown.
The most common treatment for bladder cancer confined to the bladder’s lining is minimal invasive surgery to remove the tumour.
For cancer that has invaded the bladder’s muscles and other organs, surgical removal of the bladder is the most common treatment. When this approach is taken, surrounding lymph nodes may also be removed to prevent recurrence, or the cancer spreading to other organs.
After the bladder has been removed, surgeons create a new method for the storage and removal of urine. Commonly, a conduit has been created using a segment of the small intestine to transfer urine from the kidneys, through an opening on the skin, into an external collection bag. Other methods, involving the creation of a new internal bladder, are becoming more common.
Patients suffering from invasive cancer are often treated with chemotherapy before or after surgery.
In some cases, doctors may opt to preserve the bladder through a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy, rather than remove it.