Cancer Treatment - Bladder Cancer
Why Choose Us for Bladder Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Minnesota Urology provides years of experience with bladder cancer and other urologic cancers and has 34 specialists in locations around the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. Our physicians and dedicated staff work with patients from diagnosis through treatment for the best possible outcome.
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About Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States with more than 74,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Men tend to be more affected than women, with bladder cancer representing the 4th most common new cancer diagnosis for men. When diagnosed early, bladder cancer is highly treatable. Yet, because it can recur later, continued follow up with the urologist is very important. Treatment options depend on the nature of your disease and range from radiation therapy to surgery. Thankfully, many cases of bladder cancer can be treated successfully.
What is a bladder tumor?
A bladder tumor is a cancer of the bladder lining. It normally looks like a piece of red cauliflower growing off the wall of the bladder. The tumor has a large number of blood vessels in it, and when they break, they tend to bleed. This is why most people with these tumors have blood in their urine.
What causes bladder tumors?
The most common cause of bladder tumors is smoking. Active smokers, along with those who have a history of smoking, are at increased risk. Additionally, exposure to certain petroleum products, aniline dyes and heavy metals also have been associated with bladder cancer.
How is bladder cancer treated?
Tumors in the bladder need to be resected (scraped out) using a special telescope called a resectoscope. Many times, it is the only treatment necessary. If the tumor is large, the tumor cells look aggressive (high-grade tumors), or the tumor recurs, additional therapy may be needed. This additional therapy most commonly consists of instilling an anticancer agent into the bladder through a catheter during a total of six (6) treatments spaced a week apart. Depending on your response, you may need additional treatment. Unlike intravenous chemotherapy, you do not have problems such as losing your hair, losing weight, suffering nausea or vomiting. If the tumor has grown into the wall of the bladder, your experts at Minnesota Urology may discuss additional surgical options, including the removal of the bladder, also known as a cystectomy.
What can I expect in the hospital after a tumor is removed from my bladder?
- You will meet with the anesthesiologist before surgery to determine the type of anesthesia to be used.
- A catheter (tube through the urethra into the bladder) may be placed at the end of the operation to keep your bladder drained.
- Under most circumstances, you should be able to eat right away, unless you are experiencing nausea.
- It is important to drink a lot of fluids (8-10 glasses a day), so that you will make enough urine to flush the blood out of your bladder.
- If you are urinating okay and the urine stays clear of significant blood, you will be able to go home.
- In special circumstances, your surgeon may plan to keep a catheter in your bladder to enable healing for a few days after surgery. This will be discussed prior to your surgery.
What can I expect at home after surgery to remove a tumor from my bladder?
- You can expect that your urine may be bloody off and on over the first week. The bladder lining is covered with scabs for up to one month after the surgery. These scabs will fall off periodically as the bladder lining heals. When this happens, the bladder under the scab will bleed. If this happens, it is important to decrease your activity and increase the amount of fluids you drink. If you are unable to urinate because of blood clots, or your urine looks like catsup, call your physician.
- If your urine is bloody, increase your fluid intake (8-10 glasses of fluid per day). If your urine is clear, drink a normal amount of fluids.
- Do not do any straining or lift anything heavier than 20 pounds. This will increase the pressure in the veins in the bladder. If the veins stretch, they may start bleeding.
- You may drive for short distances, assuming that it has been at least 24 hours since you last had anesthesia or took prescription pain medications.
- Activities such as mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, yard work, jogging, weightlifting, and sexual intercourse should be avoided for the first two to four weeks as they may prolong any bleeding you experience.
- You may have some increased urinary frequency and urgency immediately after surgery. This should get better over the first two weeks. If it remains a problem, you may require bladder relaxant medications.
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Our urologists practice at a variety of locations throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. Find the right physician and location today for your needs and make an appointment today!