Bladder cancer treatment options will vary according to the stage of the disease. This illness, which involves tumors forming on the lining of the bladder and occasionally affecting the surrounding tissue, can be treated in a number of ways, including chemotherapy and surgery. Learning about your treatment options will give you more control over your recovery and can prevent much of the anxiety that accompanies a cancer diagnosis.
Know that smokers and people over the age of 65 are at an increased risk for bladder cancer, as are those who have been exposed to certain chemicals in the workplace. It's also important to note that Caucasians are twice as vulnerable to bladder cancer as African-Americans.
Start by asking your oncologist about treatment options. Your oncologist may be aware of new treatments and will likely have an opinion about the best type of treatments for your form of cancer. You may also seek a second opinion to learn more about your potential options.
Visit the Web site of the American Cancer Society to get an overview of bladder cancer treatment options (see "Resources" below). You may also wish to visit other Web sites, such as the National Cancer Institute (see" Resources" below) to learn additional information about the latest treatments for various forms of cancer.
Learn about surgery. Surgery is a common treatment for many forms of cancer, including bladder cancer. You may be advised to have surgery to remove a tumor. In some cases, reconstructive surgery is needed if the bladder itself has to be removed.
Learn about immunotherapy. Substances like interferon (a natural product of your body's own immune system) may be introduced into the bladder to help stimulate your body's defense systems to attacking the tumor.
Realize that common cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, may be also used against bladder cancer.