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Bladder Cancer Treatment Options

Treatment Options by Stage

Stage 0 (Papillary Carcinoma and Carcinoma in Situ)

Treatment of stage 0 may include the following:

  • Transurethral resection with fulguration
  • Transurethral resection with fulguration followed by intravesical biologic therapy or chemotherapy
  • Segmental cystectomy
  • Radical cystectomy
  • A clinical trial of photodynamic therapy
  • A clinical trial of biologic therapy
  • A clinical trial of chemoprevention therapy given after treatment so the condition will not return 

Stage I

Treatment of stage I bladder cancer may include the following:

  • Transurethral resection with fulguration
  • Transurethral resection with fulguration followed by intravesical biologic therapy or chemotherapy
  • Segmental or radical cystectomy
  • Radiation implants with or without external radiation therapy
  • A clinical trial of chemoprevention therapy given after treatment to stop cancer from recurring

Stage II

Treatment of stage II bladder cancer may include the following:

  • Radical cystectomy with or without surgery to remove pelvic lymph nodes
  • Combination chemotherapy followed by radical cystectomy
  • External radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy
  • Radiation implants before or after external radiation therapy
  • Transurethral resection with fulguration
  • Segmental cystectomy

Stage III

Treatment of stage III bladder cancer may include the following:

  • Radical cystectomy with or without surgery to remove pelvic lymph nodes
  • Combination chemotherapy followed by radical cystectomy
  • External radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy
  • External radiation therapy with radiation implants
  • Segmental cystectomy

Stage IV

Treatment of stage IV bladder cancer may include the following:

  • Radical cystectomy with surgery to remove pelvic lymph nodes
  • External radiation therapy (may be as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life)
  • Urinary diversion as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life
  • Cystectomy as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life
  • Chemotherapy alone or after local treatment (surgery or radiation therapy)