da Vinci Surgery

Bladder Cancer Process


The development and progress of bladder cancer is not fully understood. Doctors do know more than 90 percent of all bladder cancers originate in the urothelium - a thin surface layer that lines the inside of the bladder.1 The majority of bladder tumors do not invade the bladder muscle and are confined to the urothelium or the lamina propria – a layer of loose connective tissue next to the urothelium.

Varied Growth

Most cancerous bladder tumors are not aggressive, but when they are the tumors can invade the wall of the bladder and spread to other parts of the body. This can possibly result in death but even aggressive forms of bladder cancer may not spread or become life-threatening if they are found and treated in the early stages. There are several stages of bladder cancer and several types of diagnostic tests used to determine if and how far the disease has spread.

How Cancer Spreads

Cancer can spread in the body in three ways:

  1. Cancer can invades the surrounding normal tissue.
  2. Cancer can invade the lymph system and travels through the lymph vessels to other places in the body.
  3. Cancer can invade the veins and capillaries and travels through the blood to other places in the body.

When cancer cells break away from the original or primary tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, a secondary tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary or metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if bladder cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually bladder cancer cells. The disease is metastatic bladder cancer, not bone cancer.

The prognosis or chance of recovery depends on the stage of the cancer, the type and appearance of bladder cancer cells, and the patient's age and general health. Keep in mind, early detection is critical since most early stage bladder cancers are curable. 2

PN 1002318 Rev A 04/2013
  1. “Bladder Cancer”, American Urology Care Foundation, www.urologyhealth.org , URL: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=100
  2. “Bladder Cancer Treatment”, National Cancer Institute, www.cancer.gov , URL: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/bladder/Patient/page2

All surgery presents risk, including da Vinci® Surgery and other minimally invasive procedures.  Serious complications may occur in any surgery, up to and including death. Examples of serious or life-threatening complications which may require hospitalization include injury to tissues or organs, bleeding, infection or internal scarring that can cause long-lasting dysfunction or pain. Temporary pain or nerve injury has been linked to the inverted position often used during abdominal and pelvic surgery. Risks of surgery also include potential for equipment failure and human error. Risks specific to minimally invasive surgery may include: A long operation and time under anesthesia, conversion to another technique or the need for additional or larger incisions.  If your surgeon needs to convert the procedure, it could mean a long operative time with additional time under anesthesia and increased complications. Temporary pain or discomfort may result from pneumoperitoneum, the presence of air or gas in the abdominal cavity used by surgeons in minimally invasive surgery. Research suggests that there could be an increased risk of incision-site hernia with single-incision surgery. Results, including cosmetic results, may vary.  Patients who bleed easily, who have abnormal blood clotting, are pregnant or morbidly obese are typically not candidates for minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci® Surgery. For more complete information on surgical risks, safety, and indications for use, please refer to http://www.davincisurgery.com/safety/. Patients should talk to their doctors about their surgical experience and to decide if da Vinci Surgery is right for them. Other options may be available. Intuitive Surgical reviews clinical literature from the highest level of evidence available to provide benefit and risk information about use of the da Vinci Surgical System in specific representative procedures. We encourage patients and physicians to review all available information on surgical options and treatment in order to make an informed decision. Clinical studies are available through the National Library of Medicine at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed.

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