What is bladder cancer? Bladder cancer has better prognosis if it is detected and treated early. Various treatment options are available but, the choice depends mainly on the stage and grade of the cancer.
What are the treatment options for bladder cancer? The choice of treatment usually differs in various stages and includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy.
Surgery: Bladder cancer present in the inner surface of bladder can be removed by cystoscopy called as transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT). The tumor which has grown into the bladder wall needs to be removed by cystectomy in which a part (partial cystectomy) or whole (radical cystectomy) of the bladder is removed.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses strong and powerful drugs to destroy bladder cancer cells and help prevent the recurrence. Mitomycin C is instilled inside the bladder after the TURBT. The commonly used chemotherapy drugs for the treatment of bladder cancer include methotraxate, vinblastine, doxorubicin and cisplatin. Chemotheray helps in treating the bladder cancer that spreads beyond the bladder to other organs or lymph nodes.
Radiation therapy: It can be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy. It uses high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells.
Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy causes the body's own defence mechanism to attack against the cancer cells. Bacilli Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is a substance that stimulates immune system and is used in the bladder cancer. Immunotherapy is used mainly in the early stages of bladder cancer or following cystoscopic removal of cancer to prevent the recurrence of cancer cells.
What is the success rate of bladder cancer treatment? Superficial bladder cancer recurs in 30%-40% of the cases. Mitomycin C used immediately after TURBT decreases the chances of cancer recurrence within first two years after surgery.
How much time is required? The hospital stay is for about 3- 5 days
What type of anesthesia will be given? General anesthesia What are the possible common complications? Risks are associated with the type of procedures involved: bleeding, infection, pain in surgery, urinary continence problems in total cystectomy, nausea or vomiting, reaction to medicines in chemotherapy, anesthesia related risks What should be cared? Regular follow up is required to determine the control of bladder cancer or any further spread or recurrence.
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