Steve from Lismore, New South Wales, Australia asked:

Is bladder cancer difficult to cure?

Surgery

I've been told that bladder cancer is incredibly hard to treat. Are there any cures that are known to work?

Our answer

Bladder cancer is usually curable by surgery when it is just in the inner part of the bladder and has not grown through the wall of the bladder. This type of surgery is usually ‘scraping’ the cancer out through a device like a thin telescope. It may come back again and sometimes other treatments are needed as well, or additional procedures to remove the tumours when they come back. Bladder cancer that has grown through the wall of the bladder, but not elsewhere, is more likely to come back but is still potentially curable with surgery. This usually involves an operation to remove some or all of the bladder. Sometimes other treatments like radiotherapy (powerful X-ray treatment) with or without chemotherapy (drug treatment) are used instead of surgery in this situation, usually with good results. Bladder cancer that has spread further and that cannot be removed by surgery is usually not curable with current treatments, however will often be able to be shrunk or controlled with treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Research is continuing into new ways to treat bladder cancer and further advances will come through people participating in clinical trials.

This page was last updated on: May 10, 2013
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