Bladder Cancer

Urologists at Rush offer a range of advanced treatments for bladder cancer, including minimally invasive surgeries that lead to less pain and faster recovery.

Urologists at Rush offer a range of advanced treatments for bladder cancer, including minimally invasive surgeries that lead to less pain and faster recovery.

Urologists at Rush offer a range of advanced treatments for bladder cancer, including minimally invasive surgeries that lead to less pain and faster recovery.

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men in the U.S. It's less common in women. If caught early — which it often is — it's highly treatable.

Bladder Cancer Symptoms

Bladder cancer typically causes the following symptoms:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain when urinating
  • Back pain
  • Pelvic pain

If you have these symptoms, talk to a primary care provider. If they suspect you may have bladder cancer, they'll refer you to a urologist.

Bladder Cancer Treatment at Rush

Urologists and other specialists at Rush work together to offer a range of advanced treatments for bladder cancer.

The best treatment depends on whether you cancer is only in the lining of the bladder or has spread. When cancer spreads into the bladder's muscle wall or nearby organs, it's harder to treat. But most bladder cancer is caught before it has spread.

Depending on the location of your cancer and how quickly it's growing, your treatment at Rush may involve the following:

Surgery

You'll likely need surgery to remove the cancer and any parts of your bladder affected by cancer. Urologists at Rush are highly experienced in these delicate procedures:

  • Removal of the tumor (often performed through a tube inserted in your urethra — a procedure called transurethral resection with fulguration)
  • Removal of part of your bladder (called partial cystectomy)
  • Removal of your whole bladder (called total cystectomy)
  • Urinary diversion (which can create a new way for urine to leave your body — even if your bladder has been removed)

Whenever possible, urologists at Rush use minimally invasive techniques and robotics to perform these procedures. These techniques lead to shorter hospital stays, less pain and faster recovery, compared to open surgeries.

Non-Surgical Treatments

You may also receive one or more of the following:

  • Chemotherapy, or cancer-fighting drugs
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy, which boosts your body's immune response to cancer (an immunotherapy commonly used to treat bladder cancer is Bacillus Calmette-Guerin, or BCG)
  • Complementary therapies that can help you cope with stress, anxiety and the side effects of cancer treatment

Rush Excellence in Bladder Cancer

  • Nationally recognized expertise: U.S. News & World Report has ranked Rush University Medical Center among the nation's top 50 hospitals for cancer care.
  • Leaders in bladder cancer surgery: Urologists at Rush are among the few to offer robotic cystectomy with intracorporeal urinary diversion for patients with advanced bladder cancer. This minimally invasive procedure can lead to less pain and quicker recovery of urinary function, compared to open surgery.
  • Personalized options: Bladder cancer experts at Rush work closely with Tempus, a biotechnology company whose powerful software can analyze your specific genetic and clinical data. This analysis can suggest how your cancer might respond to specific therapies, allowing your care team to tailor your treatment.
  • Convenient follow-up care: After recovering from bladder cancer, you'll likely need frequent follow-up visits. To make this care as convenient as possible, Rush urologists offer care at multiple locations across the Chicago area.