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Bladder Cancer (cont.)

Bladder Cancer Treatment

Although medical treatments are fairly standardized, different doctors have different philosophies and practices in caring for their patients. If bladder cancer is suspected or is a possible concern of your primary care doctor or internists then they may refer you to a urologist. Urologists are surgeons who specialize in the management of disorders of the urinary system. A urologist is the key specialist with whom a patient diagnosed with bladder cancer will work.

  • You may want to talk to more than one urologist to find the one with whom you feel most comfortable. Clinical experience in treating bladder cancer is of the utmost importance.
  • A urologist may also recommend or involve other specialists in your care either for their opinions or assistance in treating you. These specialists may be a radiation oncologist and/or a medical oncologist.
  • Talk to family members, friends, and your health care provider to get referrals. Many communities, medical societies, and cancer centers offer telephone or Internet referral services.

After you have chosen a urologist to treat your cancer, you will have ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss the treatments available to you.

  • Your doctor will describe each type of treatment, give you the pros and cons, and make recommendations based on published treatment guidelines and his or her own experience.
  • Treatment for bladder cancer depends on the type of cancer and its stage. Factors such as your age, your overall health, and whether you have already been treated for the cancer before are included in the treatment decision-making process.
  • The decision of which treatment to pursue is made after discussions with your doctor (with input from other members of your care team) and your family members, but the decision is ultimately yours.
  • Be certain you understand exactly what will be done and why, and what you can expect from your choices. With bladder cancer, understanding the side effects of treatment is especially important.

Like all cancers, bladder cancer is most likely to be cured if it is diagnosed early and treated promptly.

  • The most widely used therapies are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, either alone or in combination.
  • Immunotherapy or biological therapy, which takes advantage of the body's immune system's innate cancer-fighting ability, is used in some cases, especially for patients with stages Ta, T1, and CIS.
  • Your treatment plan will be individualized for your specific situation.

Your treatment team will also include one or more nurses, a dietitian, a social worker, and other professionals as needed.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/17/2015
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