The choice of treatment and the
long-term outcome (prognosis) for people who have
bladder cancer depend on the
stage and grade of cancer. When deciding about your treatment, your doctor also considers your age, overall
health, and quality of life.
Bladder cancer has a better chance of being treated successfully if it is found early.
In its early stages, bladder cancer may not have obvious symptoms. In the later stages, symptoms of bladder cancer may include:
Bloody urine, most often painless, is the most common symptom. The urine color ranges from faintly rusty to deep red, sometimes containing blood clots. Blood traces, invisible to the naked eye, may show up in tests of urine samples.
Frequent urinary tract infections, painful urination, a need to urinate often, and difficulty holding in urine.
Surgery to remove the cancer. Surgery,
either alone or along with other treatments, is used in most cases.
destroy cancer cells using medicines. Chemotherapy may be given before or after
Radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells using
high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays. Radiation therapy may also be given
before or after surgery and may be given at the same time as
chemotherapy. For more information, see Other Treatment.
There are five stages of bladder cancer, stages 0 to IV:2
Stage 0: Cancer cells are only on the surface of the inner layer of the bladder. This may be called carcinoma in situ.
Stage I: Cancer has grown deeper into the inner layer but not into the muscle layer.
Stage II: Cancer has grown into the muscle layer of the bladder.
Stage III: Cancer has grown through the muscle layer and into nearby organs, such as the prostate, uterus, or vagina.
Stage IV: Cancer has grown into the wall of the pelvis or the belly but not into any lymph nodes. Or the cancer has spread into at least one lymph node or to another part of the body, such as the liver, lungs, or bones.
The grade of bladder cancer is usually either low-grade (LG) or high-grade (HG). High-grade tumors tend to grow faster. They are also more likely to spread than low-grade tumors. When your doctor knows the grade of your cancer, this information will help him or her choose the best treatment plan for you.
More information about bladder cancer is provided by the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/bladder.
Bladder cancer that comes back
After initial treatment for
bladder cancer, it is important to receive follow-up
care, because bladder cancer often comes back (recurs). Your doctor will set up a regular schedule of checkups and tests.
Bladder cancer may recur in the bladder, or it may spread (metastasize) to other parts of
the body. Recurrent bladder cancer may be treated with surgery or
chemotherapy to slow cancer growth and relieve
Participation in a
clinical trial may be recommended if you have been
diagnosed with recurrent bladder cancer.