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Surgical Treatments for Bladder Cancer

Surgical Treatment

If your bladder cancer has spread into bladder muscles, the standard treatment is surgery to remove the bladder and nearby lymph nodes. In men, this surgery includes removing the prostate and seminal vesicles and pelvic lymph nodes. In women, surgery includes removing the bladder, uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries and part of the vagina. Your doctor may be able to leave some of these organs in place, depending on your cancer and other factors. Surgery to remove the bladder and nearby organs gives most patients the best chance of survival and lowers the chances that cancer will return.

Whether your bladder cancer comes back or you die from this condition depends on how far the cancer has spread when you get treatment. About half of people treated for bladder cancer survive for five years after treatment. About 80 percent of people with bladder cancer that did not spread to the lymph nodes are still alive five years after diagnosis. If the cancer spreads outside the bladder, into the lymph nodes or both, 35 percent to 58 percent of people survive for five years or longer. Even if cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, 35 percent of patients who have surgery to remove the bladder, other organs and lymph nodes survive five years or longer.

Advantages of Removing Lymph Nodes

Pelvic lymph nodes are one of the first areas where bladder cancer spreads. Based on research studies, we believe removing more lymph nodes might help patients do better after treatment.Your surgeon and multidisciplinary care team will work together to determine the best treatment for you. We will also take time with you and your family to talk about treatment options and the kind of care you will need after surgery or other treatment.

Treatment for Your Stage of Cancer

All cancers are divided into stages depending on whether they have spread, and how far. Before surgery, your doctor will take a small sample of the tumor through an endoscope . This will help us choose the best treatment for you. If your cancer is not in the bladder muscle, you might have chemotherapy or treatment with other medications instead of surgery.

If your cancer is in the bladder muscle, removing the bladder is the best treatment for most people. This treatment removes the cancer, lets your doctor see how much cancer there is and how it has spread and tells us what other treatments might work best for you. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are only options if you cannot have surgery because of other medical conditions or for other reasons.

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