The bladder is a hollow organ that stores urine. It is located inside the lower abdomen, is about the size of a grapefruit and is distensible (elastic) which allows its muscular wall to get larger and smaller. Bladder cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the bladder.
Cancer of the bladder is the ninth most common cancer worldwide with approximately 350,000 new cases per year; it claims roughly 145,000 lives annually.1 Rates in men are three to four times greater than in women and bladder cancer is more common in many southern and eastern European countries, parts of Africa, the Middle East and North America.1
Treatment options depend on the stage of bladder cancer (Stage 0 to Stage 4). There are four standard treatment options for bladder cancer:
- Biologic Therapy
Each patient’s case is unique and the type, as well as the stage of bladder cancer will determine which treatment(s) will be recommended by the physician. It is important to discuss all treatment options with your doctor before a decision is made about which is best for your individual situation.
Bladder Cancer Surgery (Cystectomy)
A cystectomy is the removal of all or part of the bladder and possibly the removal of nearby lymph nodes and organs that may contain cancer. If the bladder is removed, the surgeon creates a new way or path for urine to be stored and to leave the body.
Cystectomy is traditionally performed using an open approach, meaning the surgeon must make a large abdominal incision to access the bladder. Another approach, conventional laparoscopy, is less invasive but due to the surgical instruments used, laparoscopy limits the doctor's dexterity, field of vision and control, compared to open surgery.
da Vinci® Cystectomy
If your doctor recommends surgery for bladder cancer, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive da Vinci Cystectomy. da Vinci uses state-of-the-art technology to help your doctor perform a precise operation through a few tiny incisions with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.
da Vinci Surgery offers several potential benefits to bladder cancer patients over traditional open surgery, including:
- Significantly less pain2
- Less blood loss2,3
- Less occurrence of major complications3
- Shorter hospital stay3
- Quicker recovery of bowel function2
This procedure is performed using the da Vinci Surgical System, a state-of-the-art surgical platform. By overcoming the limits of both traditional open and laparoscopic surgery, da Vinci is changing the experience of surgery for people around the world.
If you are facing bladder cancer surgery, talk to a doctor who performs da Vinci Surgery. To find a da Vinci surgeon, use our surgeon locator.
As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed since surgery is specific to each patient, condition and procedure. It is important to talk to your doctor about all treatment options, including the risks and benefits. This information can help you make the best decision for your situation.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.4 There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells either by killing the cells or stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy) When chemotherapy is placed directly into the cerebrospinal fluid, an organ, or body cavity such as the abdomen, the drugs mainly affect cancer cells in those areas (regional chemotherapy). Bladder cancer may be treated with intravesical (into the bladder through a tube inserted into the urethra) chemotherapy. The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Biologic therapy is a treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct, or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer. This type of cancer treatment is also called biotherapy or immunotherapy.
- Parkin DM; The global burden of urinary bladder cancer. Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Headington, Oxford, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19054893
- ix J, Smith A, Kurpad R, Nielsen ME, Wallen EM, Pruthi RS. Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial of Robotic versus Open Radical Cystectomy for Bladder Cancer: Perioperative and Pathologic Results, Eur Urol(2009), doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2009.10.024.
- g CK, Kauffman EC, Lee MM, Otto BJ, Portnoff A, Ehrlich JR, Schwartz MJ, Wang GJ, Scherr DS. A Comparison of Postoperative Complications in Open versus Robotic Cystectomy. Eur Urol(2009) doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2009.06.001
- 4. Bladder Cancer Treatment; Treatment Option Overview. National Cancer Institute. Available from: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/bladder/Patient/page4