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Bladder Cancer Health Center

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Treatment Option Overview

    There are different types of treatment for patients with bladder cancer.

    Different types of treatment are available for patients with bladder cancer. Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment. Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment.

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    Understanding Bladder Cancer -- Prevention

    To prevent bladder cancer, your best bet is to avoid possible carcinogens, or cancer-causing substances. For starters, don't smoke. Eat smoked or cured meats only occasionally and prepare fresh rather than processed foods. Research also suggests that there is a reduced incidence of bladder cancer among people with adequate vitamin B-6, beta-carotene, and selenium in their diets. If you work around carcinogenic chemicals, follow safety guidelines to avoid undue exposure. And if you feel you may be...

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    Four types of standard treatment are used:

    Surgery

    One of the following types of surgery may be done:

    • Transurethral resection (TUR) with fulguration: Surgery in which a cystoscope (a thin lighted tube) is inserted into the bladder through the urethra. A tool with a small wire loop on the end is then used to remove the cancer or to burn the tumor away with high-energy electricity. This is known as fulguration.
    • Radical cystectomy: Surgery to remove the bladder and any lymph nodes and nearby organs that contain cancer. This surgery may be done when the bladder cancer invades the muscle wall, or when superficial cancer involves a large part of the bladder. In men, the nearby organs that are removed are the prostate and the seminal vesicles. In women, the uterus, the ovaries, and part of the vagina are removed. Sometimes, when the cancer has spread outside the bladder and cannot be completely removed, surgery to remove only the bladder may be done to reduce urinary symptoms caused by the cancer. When the bladder must be removed, the surgeon creates another way for urine to leave the body.
    • Segmental cystectomy: Surgery to remove part of the bladder. This surgery may be done for patients who have a low-grade tumor that has invaded the wall of the bladder but is limited to one area of the bladder. Because only a part of the bladder is removed, patients are able to urinate normally after recovering from this surgery.
    • Urinary diversion: Surgery to make a new way for the body to store and pass urine.
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