Once a doctor has diagnosed bladder cancer and determined the extent, or stage, of the cancer, there are several options for treatment. A team of urology, medical oncology, and radiation oncology bladder cancer specialists will map out a treatment plan specific to the type and stage of cancer. This page describes the most common standard treatment options.
Noninvasive (Superficial) Bladder Cancer
This type of cancer, commonly called superficial bladder cancer, is only on the inside surface of the bladder and has not begun to invade the muscles that support the lining. It can be treated with minimally invasive surgery, often combined with chemotherapy or immunotherapy inside the bladder.
Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer
If the cancer is invading the muscles of the bladder, more invasive treatment options are used to try to cure the cancer before it can spread outside the bladder. Surgery or radiation is often combined with chemotherapy to improve the likelihood of cure.
Metastatic Bladder Cancer
Cancer that has spread outside the bladder can rarely be cured. Chemotherapy is the primary treatment. It may be combined with surgery or radiation in select situations.