Advanced bladder cancer
If bladder cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it is known as advanced or metastatic bladder cancer. Treatment will focus on controlling the cancer and relieving symptoms without trying to cure the disease. This is called palliative treatment.
Many people think that palliative treatment is only for people at the end of their life, but it may help people at any stage of advanced bladder cancer. It is about living as comfortably as possible and helping you to maintain your quality of life.
Learn more about these treatments for advanced cancer:
- Systemic chemotherapy
- Surgery (TURBT)
- Surgery (cystectomy)
- Radiation therapy
- Palliative treatment
If you have palliative radiation therapy, you may have one session or up to 20 sessions given Monday to Friday over four weeks. Your doctor will explain your treatment schedule – for more on this see Radiation therapy for bladder cancer. Some people may have radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy (chemoradiation).
Palliative treatment is one aspect of palliative care, in which a team of health professionals aims to meet your physical, emotional, practical, cultural, social and spiritual needs. The palliative care team will work with your cancer specialists to manage side effects from treatment. The team also provides support to families and carers.
Video: What is palliative care?
Find out how palliative treatment aims to manage symptoms and improve people’s quality of life without trying to cure the disease.
Podcast for people affected by advanced cancer
Prof Dickon Hayne, Professor of Urology, UWA Medical School, The University of Western Australia, Chair of the Bladder, Urothelial and Penile Cancer Subcommittee, ANZUP Cancer Trials Group, and Head of Urology, South Metropolitan Health Service, WA; A/Prof Tom Shakespeare, Director, Radiation Oncology, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Lismore Public Hospitals, NSW; Helen Anderson, Genitourinary Cancer Nurse Navigator (CNS), Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; BEAT Bladder Cancer Australia; Mark Jenkin, Consumer; Dr Ganessan Kichenadasse, Lead, SA Cancer Clinical Network, Commission of Excellence and Innovation in Health, and Medical Oncologist, Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, SA; A/Prof James Lynam, Medical Oncology Staff Specialist, Calvary Mater Newcastle, NSW; Jack McDonald, Consumer; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Tara Redemski, Senior Physiotherapist – Cancer and Blood Disorders, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Prof Shomik Sengupta, Consultant Urologist, Eastern Health and Professor of Surgery, Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, VIC.
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