Bladder Cancer

The best bladder cancer care requires a customized approach. Some bladder tumors are fast-growing, so they require surgery and various cancer therapies. But many others are slow-growing and do well with careful observation from a skilled doctor.

Memorial Cancer Institute has decades of experience treating all bladder tumor types. Our knowledgeable doctors can pinpoint the treatment that is best for you, your lifestyle and your medical diagnosis.

Bladder Cancer Treatment at Memorial Cancer Institute: Why Choose Us

When diagnosed early, bladder cancer is highly treatable. Our doctors offer the full range of bladder cancer treatments so you have choices, and we’ll walk you through every option. When you choose our program, you benefit from:

  • World leading doctors: Our chief of Urologic Cancer is a pioneer in key aspects of bladder tumor treatment. His technological advancement discoveries include the use of the cystoscope, which is a vital tool in viewing and treating noninvasive bladder tumors without surgery. He trained and worked at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center (the preeminent cancer care in the country) and has published extensively in the management of bladder cancer.
  • Advanced surgical techniques: Our fellowship-trained surgeons have completed the highest level of training in minimally invasive and robotic surgery. When surgery is part of your plan, our team uses the latest techniques, including robotic-assisted cystectomy (bladder removal) for bladder cancer. Robotic-assisted cystectomy involves smaller incisions and a faster recovery than traditional cystectomy.
  • In-office tumor removal: When bladder cancer is noninvasive, our specialists can remove the tumor in-office, without the need for surgery. This nonsurgical option offers you convenience and comfort, so you can get back to your activities sooner.
  • Whole-health focus: Cancer affects more than your physical health. That’s why we care for your emotional and mental health needs by offering a range of cancer support services. From acupuncture to pain management and psychological support, our team is ready to help.
  • Multispecialty care: Faster-growing bladder tumors may require medications, radiation or both. Our urologic oncologists partner with our medical and radiation oncology specialists so you receive complete care from a team of experts.
  • Convenient appointments: You don’t have to wait weeks to see our cancer specialists. We strive to offer appointments within a few days.

Bladder Cancer Diagnosis

bladder cancer illustration

An accurate bladder cancer diagnosis helps you and your doctor decide which treatments will be most effective. We have the latest tools to diagnose all types of bladder cancer, including transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT).

During TURBT, our urologic oncologists insert a cystoscope into the urethra (tube where urine exits the body). This long, thin tool has a camera that allows doctors to view the tumor and take a sample of it.

TURBT is a minimally invasive way to determine the type and grade of the tumor and next steps for your treatment. If the tumor is small and slow-growing, our doctors may be able to remove it during TURBT.

In some cases, doctors may use additional tests to check for signs of bladder cancer including:

  • Blood tests
  • CT scan
  • Urine tests

Our Bladder Cancer Treatments

Bladder cancer treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Our specialists customize a treatment plan for you based on your unique medical and lifestyle needs. After your diagnosis, our urologic oncologists discuss treatment options with you, which may include:

  • Active Surveillance
  • In-office Cauterizing and Tumor Removal
  • Intravesical Therapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Cystectomy with Urinary Diversion

Active Surveillance

Many bladder tumors are small, slow-growing and don’t require treatment. In these cases, our urologic oncologists carefully watch the tumor over time to ensure it doesn’t grow or spread.

Commonly called active surveillance, this plan means our urologic oncologists see you regularly to view the tumor and discuss your health. You won’t need surgery or cancer treatment if the tumor doesn’t change. And you have our urologic cancer specialists on your side every step of the way.

In-office Cauterizing and Tumor Removal

Some small, slow-growing bladder tumors require removal. Our urologic oncologists have expertise in removing these tumors in-office, so you don’t need an operation.

During one visit, our urologic oncologists remove the tumor using electrical energy:

  • They insert a cystoscope into your urethra.
  • The cystoscope has a tool attached that can directly target and destroy the tumor.
  • There’s no general anesthesia, and you go home the same day.
  • This procedure also minimizes bleeding and complications.

Intravesical Therapy

More aggressive tumors may require treatment with chemotherapy or immunotherapy medications. Our cancer team offers intravesical therapy, which delivers these powerful medicines right to the bladder:

  • Your doctor inserts a catheter (thin, flexible tube) into your urethra.
  • Medicine goes through the tube and into the bladder.
  • You hold it in your bladder for a certain amount of time before urinating it out.

Radiation Therapy

If you have early-stage bladder cancer or can’t have surgery or chemotherapy, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy. During this treatment, a linear accelerator (radiation machine) delivers high doses of energy to the cancer cells to destroy them.

Radiation therapy doesn’t hurt and is like getting an X-ray. Learn more about radiation oncology at Memorial Cancer Institute.

Cystectomy with Urinary Diversion

Cystectomy is the most effective treatment for fast-growing or advanced bladder tumors. During this surgery, surgeons remove the bladder and often remove some of the nearby organs, too.

Our urologic cancer team has extensive experience in the safest surgical techniques for bladder surgery. When possible, we use the latest minimally invasive and robotic surgery methods. These procedures require smaller incisions, so you have less pain, fewer complications and a faster recovery.

Removing the bladder also requires urinary diversion, or a new way for urine to exit the body. Our surgeons are skilled in various urinary diversions, so you have choices. We explain the options and help you decide which one is right for your needs and lifestyle.

Our urinary diversion options include:

  • Ileal conduit: Doctors connect your ureters (tubes that carry urine) to a small opening in your abdominal wall. This opening, called a stoma, connects to a small pouch you wear on the outside of your body. As the pouch fills up, you visit the bathroom and empty it.
  • Neobladder reconstruction: For eligible patients who wish to avoid a stoma or pouch, our surgeons can create a new bladder (neobladder). We use your own tissue from a small part of your intestines to create a pouch that works like your original bladder. With this surgery, you urinate out of your urethra like normal, though it may feel different. This surgery is complex, but our urologic oncologists have the training and expertise to perform it. After your surgery, we provide guidance and follow-up care to ensure you’re comfortable using your new bladder.

Make an Appointment

Our urologic cancer specialists see patients throughout South Florida. To schedule an appointment, please call 305-682-2580.

Meet Our Urologic Cancer Specialists

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