Bladder Cancer Treatment Options for Patients in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey
There are several types of bladder cancer, including urothelial carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, sarcoma, and other rare forms. In addition to being labeled noninvasive, non-muscle-invasive, and muscle-invasive, bladder cancers are further classified into stages and grades, all of which describe the disease’s progression and severity. Depending on a patient’s unique situation, a combination of treatment modalities will be recommended to put that patient on the road to recovery.
At Regional Cancer Care Associates, we provide customized treatment plans to our patients in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey. When visiting our facilities, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that our treatments are backed by the latest research and scientific advancements.
Surgical Treatment Options
Depending on the cancer’s location, stage, and grade, our oncologists may choose to treat bladder cancer with surgery, which is usually combined with other modalities to ensure effectiveness. Several standard types of surgery are considered, including:
Transurethral resection with fulguration
During this procedure, a cystoscope (a thin, tube-like instrument with a light) is inserted into the bladder. Once the surgical team reaches the cancer, the cystoscope is used to cut away the tumor with a small wire loop. Alternatively, the tumor may be burned off with the cystoscope’s high-powered electricity, a process called fulguration.
Typically suitable for patients with low-grade, noninvasive tumors, a partial cystectomy entails removing the affected portion of the bladder. This procedure, also known as segmental cystectomy, leaves the rest of the bladder intact, allowing patients to urinate normally after recovery without the need for additional surgery.
With this type of surgery, the entire bladder is removed, as well as affected lymph nodes, tissues, and sometimes other organs. This procedure is usually reserved for patients whose cancer has spread into the bladder’s muscle wall or affects a large portion of the bladder. It is coupled with another procedure called urinary diversion, which creates a new avenue for storing and releasing urine.
Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to target cancer cells and either kill them completely or stop them from dividing further. These medications are injected into the body or taken orally. There are several types of chemotherapy, including:
- Systemic chemotherapy: Medications flow through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells.
- Regional chemotherapy: Drugs are administered through the intravesical route (via the urethra) into the bladder using a tube-like instrument.
- Combination chemotherapy: This refers to any treatment that uses multiple anticancer medications.
Radiation therapy with X-rays or other types of high-energy radiation kills cancer cells and stops their growth. There are two types of radiation therapy:
- External: A machine is used outside the body to deliver radiation to the bladder cancer.
- Internal: Needles, wires, catheters, or other tools are used to place a radioactive substance into or near the cancer cells.
By harnessing the power of the body’s immune system, immunotherapy aims to enhance or improve the patient’s natural defenses. One type of immunotherapy is immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy, which uses a protein found in the immune system’s T cells (infection-fighting white blood cells) to help the body identify, target, and kill cancer cells. The other type is an intravesical method called bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a bacterial germ that is inserted directly into the bladder with a catheter. BCG activates immune cells into attacking and killing the cancer cells.
Clinical Trials and More
At Regional Cancer Care Associates in Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey, our patients benefit from more than our standard treatments. Eligible patients can also participate in clinical trials, which test new treatments and compare the results to standard treatments already in use. We also offer compassionate palliative care for patients in advanced stages of the disease, as well as active surveillance to monitor the progression of low-risk cancer. To learn more about our bladder cancer treatments, contact us today.