Muscle-invasive bladder cancer treatment
When bladder cancer has invaded the muscle layer (muscularis propria), the main treatment options are
- surgery to remove the whole bladder (cystectomy), sometimes with chemotherapy given before or after the surgery
- bladder-conserving surgery (TURBT), followed by radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy. This is called trimodal therapy.
Learn more about:
- Making treatment decisions
- What to do before and after treatment
- Surgery: cystectomy
- Systemic chemotherapy
- Radiation therapy
- Trimodal therapy
What to do before and after treatment
Stop smoking – If you smoke, aim to quit before starting treatment. If you keep smoking, you may not respond as well to treatment and you may have more treatment-related side effects. Continuing to smoke also increases your risk of cancer returning. For support, see your doctor, call Quitline 13 7848 or visit iCanQuit.
Begin or continue an exercise program – Exercise will help build up your strength for treatment and recovery. It can also help you deal with side effects of treatment. Talk to your doctor, exercise physiologist or physiotherapist about the right type of exercise for you.
Improve your diet – Aim to eat a balanced diet with a variety of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and protein. Eating well can improve your strength and you may respond better to treatment.
See a physiotherapist – They can teach you exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which help control how your bladder and bowel work. These exercises are useful if you have a neobladder, a partial cystectomy or radiation therapy.
When deciding on treatment for muscle-invasive bladder cancer, you may want to discuss your options with a urologist, radiation oncologist and medical oncologist. Ask your GP for referrals.
Podcast: Making Treatment Decisions
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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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