Bladder Cancer Treatment Options
Depending on the stage of the cancer and other factors, treatment options for bladder cancer can include:
- Radiation Therapy
- Targeted Drug Therapy
Treatment for bladder can include external beam radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is sometimes prescribed along with chemotherapy to treat bladder cancer in certain situations, such as when surgery isn’t an option or isn’t desired. Radiation therapy is often used after surgery along with other forms of treatment. If your treatment plan includes radiation therapy, Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology offers the expertise and latest technology for treating your bladder. When you meet with our doctors and technicians in Tampa and Brandon, they will perform a complete evaluation, explain all of your options and work closely with you to develop a treatment plan. Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology offers external beam radiation therapy as well as other options for the treatment of bladder cancer.
Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about bladder cancer and treatment options. Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology has multiple Florida facilities located in the Tampa Bay area in Tampa and Brandon.
About Bladder Cancer
The most common type of bladder cancer is urothelial carcinoma, also known as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). It accounts for approximately 95% of all bladder cancers. Urothelial carcinoma starts in the urothelial cells that line the inside of the bladder, or in urothelial cells in other parts of the urinary tract, such as the ureters, the urethra, and the part of the kidney that connects to the ureter. Because tumors can occur in any of these places, the entire urinary tract should be checked for tumors if bladder cancer is suspected.
Other types of Bladder Cancer
Other types of cancers in the bladder can occur, but they are very rare and account for less than 5% of bladder cancers:
- Squamous cell carcinomas
- Small-cell carcinoma
These types of bladder cancer are treated similarly to TCC.
Invasive and non-invasive bladder cancer
Bladder cancers are categorized by how far they have spread into the wall of the bladder:
- Non-invasive cancers are only in the inner layer of cells
- Invasive cancers are more likely to spread and are harder to treat because they have grown into deeper layers of the bladder wall.
Bladder cancers are also divided into two subtypes:
- Papillary carcinomas that grow toward the center of the bladder without growing into the deeper bladder layers. These tumors are usually very slow growing, so they are treatable with good outcomes if caught early.
- Flat carcinomas do not grow toward the hollow part of the bladder and are known as non-invasive flat carcinoma if they are only in the inner layer of bladder cells.
If either a papillary or flat tumor grows into the deeper layers of the bladder, it’s called an invasive urothelial carcinoma.
Symptoms of Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is often caught early because of its primary symptom, which is blood in the urine. Other signs of bladder cancer may include:
- Having to urinate frequently
- Pain or burning during urination
- Having the urge to urinate when the bladder isn’t full
- Trouble urinating or a weak urine stream
- Having to urinate several times during the night
These symptoms may also be signs of other conditions, however, such as a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, and overactive bladder, or an enlarged prostate in men, so it’s important to see your doctor if you experience any of them.
Advanced bladder cancers can cause other symptoms, such as:
- Difficulty urinating at all
- Lower back pain
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Weakness or persistent fatigue
Many of these symptoms can also be caused other conditions, so it’s important to have them checked.
Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer
Common risk factors for bladder cancer include:
- Exposure to chemicals used in certain industries such as the dye industry
- Medicines or herbal supplements such as pioglitazone (Actos) or aristolochic acid
- Arsenic in drinking water
- Race or ethnicity
- Family history of bladder cancer