Types of Bladder Cancer and its Treatment

Types of Bladder Cancer and its Treatment

Many patients are not aware that bladder cancer has three subtypes. These types include muscle-invasive, non-muscle-invasive, and superficial disease. Each type is treated differently depending on its phase, spread to the lymph nodes, and how much damage it has done. 

An experienced urologist can tell you what type of bladder cancer you have if you are diagnosed with the condition. Treating bladder cancer becomes easier when you know the different types of bladder cancer.

Superficial Bladder Cancer

According to reports, bladder cancer is the tenth most common cancer worldwide.

Superficial bladder cancer or non-muscle invasive is the most accessible bladder cancer to treat. It can be treated by removing the bladder part where the tumours are present. Radiation therapy may also be used if it has spread into nearby areas. Usually, only a single treatment is needed to treat superficial diseases.

Non-muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer is the second easiest form of bladder cancer to treat. It can be cured by removing the tumours, radical cystectomy, placing a permanent stent in your ureter to drain urine from the kidneys into the bladder, and inserting an ileal conduit into the bladder to allow it to empty. 

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can treat non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer if other areas in your body have spread. Usually, one treatment is needed for this form of bladder cancer.

Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer

Muscle invasive bladder cancer is more complex than the other types of bladder cancer to treat. It can be treated with a radical cystectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

A radical cystectomy removes the bladder and ureters depending on how much the tumour has affected the area. The surgeon then places a permanent stent into the ureter to remove urine from the kidneys into the bladder. An ileal conduit is then placed into the bladder to drain correctly.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used for bladder cancer because these tumours tend to spread quite early on, often before a diagnosis is made. The best choice to treat this type of bladder cancer is to catch it while the tumour is still small.

Recurrent Bladder Cancer

Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can treat recurrent bladder cancer. Chemotherapy is the most common type of treatment for this situation, and it is helpful in some cases. If surgery is impossible because the tumour has spread too much, then a new surgery called exenteration may be performed.

The type of surgery is complex and may involve removing the bladder, rectum, part of the colon, vagina, uterus or fallopian tubes. Radiation therapy treats any remaining cancer in these areas. If chemotherapy is not possible due to poor health or other reasons, radiation therapy can be used for this situation.

Very Aggressive Bladder Cancer

If bladder cancer has spread to other body parts and is quite advanced, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used. Radiation therapy is more commonly used in this situation than chemotherapy.

If you have a lot of pain from the disease, supportive care will relieve most of your symptoms. Supportive care includes pain medication, fluid management and nutritional support.

Bladder Cancer Treatment in Children

If your child has bladder cancer, the treatment for this situation depends on how old they are when diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Upon diagnosis, chemotherapy treats the bladder cancer under three years of age. If they are over three years of age, then surgery with or without radiation therapy may be used to treat their bladder cancer.