Bladder Cancer Overview

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Treating Bladder Cancer TOPICS

How is bladder cancer treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

About treatment

After bladder cancer is found and staged, your doctor will talk to you about your treatment options. There is a lot for you to think about when choosing the best way to treat or manage your cancer. There may be more than one treatment to choose from. You may feel that you need to make a decision quickly. But give yourself time to absorb the information you have learned. Talk to your doctor. Look at the list of questions in the section “What are some questions I can ask my doctor about bladder cancer?” to get some ideas. Then add your own.

If time permits, you might want to get a second opinion about the best treatment option for you. Doing so can give you more information and help you feel better about the treatment plan you choose. You will want to weigh the benefits of each treatment against side effects and risks.

The main types of treatment for bladder cancer are:

Sometimes, more than one of type of treatment might be used. Surgery, alone or along with other treatments, is used in nearly all cases.

You might have different types of doctors on your treatment team. The types of doctors who treat bladder cancers include:

  • Urologists: surgeons who treat diseases of the urinary system
  • Radiation oncologists: doctors who treat cancer with radiation
  • Medical oncologists: doctors who treat cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy

Other experts might be part of your treatment team as well, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and others. See Health Professionals Associated With Cancer Care for more on this.

Last Medical Review: 06/23/2014
Last Revised: 01/07/2015