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Bladder Cancer - Other Treatment

Radiation treatment

Radiation treatment for bladder cancer uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It may be given after surgery. It may be used along with chemotherapy. Sometimes it is used instead of surgery or chemotherapy.

  • External beam radiation comes from a machine outside the body. The machine aims radiation at the area where the cancer cells are found.
  • Internal radiation uses needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that contain radioactive materials placed close to or directly into the bladder.

Which treatment you receive will depend on the type and stage of your cancer.

Recommended Related to Bladder Cancer

Understanding Bladder Cancer -- Diagnosis and Treatment

To diagnose bladder cancer, your doctor completes a thorough medical history and examination. You will then be referred to a urologist, a physician who has special training in managing diseases of the bladder. The first test the urologist may perform is an intravenous pyelogram (IVP), followed by a cystoscopy. During a cystoscopy, the urologist will pass a cystoscope (a fiber-optic lighted tube) through the urethra in order to view the bladder. A urine sample for cytology will be obtained and a...

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Side effects of radiation may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Pain or discomfort when you urinate.
  • An increased risk for infection.
  • In women, changes to the cells lining the vagina. These changes can make intercourse difficult or painful.
  • In men, erection problems if the nerves that control erection were affected by radiation.

Clinical trials

Your doctor may talk to you about joining a research study called a clinical trial if one is available in your area. Clinical trials are research studies to look for ways to improve treatments for bladder cancer. Experts are doing studies on:

  • Chemoprevention for early-stage bladder cancer. This is the use of medicines or vitamins to reduce the risk of getting cancer or having cancer come back.
  • Photodynamic therapy. This uses medicine and a special light to treat the cancer.

For some people with bladder cancer, clinical trials may offer the best treatment available.

Complementary therapies

People sometimes use complementary therapies along with medical treatment to help relieve symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments. Some of the complementary therapies that may be helpful include:

These mind-body treatments may help you feel better. They can make it easier to cope with treatment. They also may reduce chronic low back pain, joint pain, headaches, and pain from treatments.

Before you try a complementary therapy, talk to your doctor about the possible value and potential side effects. Let your doctor know if you are already using any such therapies. They are not meant to take the place of standard medical treatment.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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