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Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer develops in the tissues of the bladder. It is usually caught early and is highly treatable. However, you will likely need years of follow-up visits even after successful treatment.

Types of bladder cancer

There are two types of bladder cancer:

  • Superficial: The majority of bladder cancers are limited to the lining of the bladder.
  • Invasive: The cancer spreads through the lining and muscle wall of the bladder — and often to nearby lymph nodes and organs.

Invasive bladder cancer into the muscle layer of the bladder is more aggressive and life-threatening than superficial bladder cancer. But superficial cancer often returns (recurs).

Bladder cancer symptoms

Symptoms of bladder cancer include the following:

Care for bladder cancer at Rush

Your treatment options depend on the type and stage of the cancer and how fast it is growing. Your care may include one or more of the following: 

  • Bladder cancer surgery: Removes cancerous tissues and tumors in the bladder. This may include robotic surgery for a minimally invasive cystectomy to remove all or part of the bladder.
  • Chemotherapy: Destroys the cancer cells and stops them from growing.
  • Radiation therapy: Kills the cancer or keeps it from spreading.
  • Biologic therapy (e.g., Bacillus Calmette-Guerin or BCG): Uses your own immune system to fight cancer and boost your body’s natural defenses against cancer.

Why choose Rush for bladder cancer care

  • The urology program at Rush is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country in U.S. News and World Report.
  • Whenever possible, urologists at Rush perform robotic surgery, a minimally invasive cystectomy (partial or total bladder removal), using the da Vinci Surgical System. This approach offers less pain, reduced risk of infection, quicker recovery and a shorter hospital stay compared to open cystectomy surgery.
  • Rush is one of few medical centers in the Chicago area tthat offers robotic cystectomy and intercorporeal urinary diversion to patients with advanced bladder cancer.
  • Urologists at Rush are committed to treating common side effects of bladder cancer treatments, including sexual dysfunction and incontinence in both men and women.
  • The Rush University Cancer Center has received outstanding achievement awards from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons. The awards recognize programs that excel in providing quality cancer care.
  • At Rush, you have access to the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, which offers complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, massage and yoga to help ease the mental and physical stress that accompanies bladder cancer treatment. 

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