Bladder Cancer Care

When you’re a patient at Providence, we don’t just treat your bladder cancer – we treat you. We use the most advanced treatments to create a highly personalized care plan. We also support you and your loved ones with a full range of services throughout your entire cancer journey. The result is effective, whole-person care for the body, mind and spirit.

Why Choose Us for Bladder Cancer Care?

At Providence, we see the life in you. Together, let’s finish cancer – so you don’t have to miss any of life’s special moments.

No two patients, or their treatment plans, are alike. This is why, at Providence, we take a highly personalized approach to your bladder cancer care. You’ll experience this through our multidisciplinary tumor boards, where your oncology team collaborates with other cancer care experts about your specific diagnosis. We also offer a Providence Molecular Tumor Board, where we evaluate your genomic and clinical information to find the best genetically matched treatment for you. Your oncology team will work with you directly to design a treatment plan that fits your personal needs. It’s an approach that combines leading-edge treatment with the compassionate care Providence is known for. Why? Because we know this results in the best outcomes.

As a patient, you’ll be supported through your entire cancer journey by a multidisciplinary cancer care team. You’ll be treated by board-certified medical oncologists and radiation oncologists. If surgery is required, our world-class urologists use the most advanced techniques, such as artificial bladder and pouch creation, to preserve normal urinary function. It’s a team-based approach to bladder cancer care. Your care team may include oncology nurse navigators, ostomy nurses and other cancer specialists. We also provide you and your family with a full range of support services well beyond conventional treatment, from genetic counseling and education to nutrition and pain management.

Learn more about the experts who make up our multidisciplinary cancer care teams.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, but access to great bladder cancer care hasn’t always been the same for everyone. At Providence, we are deeply committed to making sure every patient we treat has access to the best cancer care. We offer various location-specific services to help our patients receive equitable care, such as translation for non-English-speaking patients, telehealth and transportation assistance. We value, respect and support the racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual and spiritual identities of each member of our diverse communities, and we welcome all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. We aim to make sure every patient is treated equally and with dignity – whoever you are, and wherever you’re at.

As a patient at Providence, you have access to the largest community-based cancer network in the United States. Being part of a collaborative network means that your local bladder cancer care team shares knowledge and experience with other world-class clinicians across 51 hospitals in seven states. The extent and power of our network is one of the reasons more than 3,000 new urologic cancer patients, and 50,000 new cancer patients, choose Providence each year.

Providence is well known for offering options – and hope – to patients seeking the most advanced procedures and therapies to treat bladder cancer. Our Providence network doctors have pioneered a minimally invasive technique for creating an artificial bladder from intestinal tissue, allowing for normal urination. They also specialize in another procedure to create an internal pouch that is manually emptied. As a patient, you also have the opportunity to participate in one of the many clinical trials happening for bladder cancer across the Providence network.

About Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a type of urologic cancer. Most cases start when cancer cells form in the tissues lining the interior of the organ. The expert oncology teams at Providence use the most effective therapies to treat patients with every type of bladder cancer and its related conditions, including:

  • Superficial bladder cancer
  • Muscle-invasive bladder cancer
  • Locally advanced bladder cancer
  • Metastatic bladder cancer

Testing and Diagnostics

Doctor and patient reviews diagnosis while seated in office

Diagnostic tools help our cancer clinicians determine which therapies will work best for each patient, based on many factors like cancer type and the genetic or molecular profile of the tumor. Your doctors will use multiple advanced diagnostic and prognostic tools to help design your individualized treatment plan. Depending on your case, this may include one or more of the following:

Personalized Treatment for Bladder Cancer

We take a team approach to your bladder cancer treatment because we know this offers the best success in controlling and curing cancer. Your multidisciplinary cancer care team will work with you to design an individualized cancer care plan, from diagnosis to post-treatment support. We offer many different therapies across our Providence locations. Depending on your condition, your personal care plan may include one or more of the following:

Systemic therapies travel through the bloodstream and affect cells in other body parts. They are used for patients whose cancer has spread to other areas of the body or if there’s a high risk of spread. Sophisticated genetic analysis allows us to target therapies to specific DNA mutations that cause cancer cells to develop and grow. Systemic therapies include:

Biologic therapies are a type of drug treatment derived from living organisms such as proteins or yeasts. One type of biologic therapy is monoclonal antibodies. These are laboratory-produced agents that target and bind to biologic entities such as receptors on cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is the systemic use of cytotoxic chemicals to kill cancer cells. Today there are many medications (e.g., biological medications, immune treatments, targeted therapies) that do not fit the classic definition of chemotherapy yet are often included in this category.

Clinical trials represent research protocols that include the use of new drugs or drug combinations in a specific clinical situation.

Immunotherapy uses drugs to allow the body’s own immune system to more effectively find and destroy cancer cells.

Intravesical therapy is a treatment where chemotherapy or other drugs are infused into the bladder through a catheter. This is useful in treating some forms of superficial bladder cancer.

Molecularly targeted therapy is the use of drugs that are molecularly targeted at a genetic mutation that has allowed the cancer to grow. This therapy enables personalized treatments for patients who carry certain genetic mutations or abnormalities.

Surgical therapies involve an operation or procedure to remove cancer from the body. Surgery may be the main treatment for some invasive cancers, but it’s only one part of the entire treatment plan. Surgical therapies include:

Open pelvic lymphadenectomy can be used to prevent the accumulation of lymphatic fluid (lymphedema) that leads to swelling. Two such procedures are reverse lymphatic mapping, which allows surgeons to identify lymph nodes that can be preserved during surgery, and lymphovenous bypass surgery, which enables surgeons to reestablish lymphatic drainage.

Laparoscopic pelvic lymphadenectomy involves the surgical removal through a laparoscope of groups of lymph nodes in the pelvic area and near the aorta. The tissue is then tested to determine whether cancer cells are present.

Robotic pelvic lymphadenectomy involves the surgical removal of groups of lymph nodes in the pelvic area and near the aorta. The surgeon uses a control panel to guide a small robotic arm. The tissue is then tested to determine whether cancer cells are present.

Robotic-assisted surgery allows for better and more controlled access, giving the surgeon a clear and magnified view of the surgical area. It allows them to use smaller instruments and move with greater precision in a minimally invasive fashion, all of which results in a less traumatic experience and quicker recovery for the patient.

This advanced procedure requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

Open radical cystectomy is surgical removal of the bladder, lymph nodes and other organs in the pelvic area.

Laparoscopic radical cystectomy is surgery that uses a laparoscope to remove the bladder, lymph nodes and other organs in the pelvic area.

Robotic radical cystectomy is robotic-assisted surgery to remove the bladder, lymph nodes and other organs in the pelvic area.

The use of robotic instruments gives the surgeon a clear and magnified view of the surgical area, allowing them to move with greater precision. This results in a less traumatic experience and quicker recovery for the patient.

This advanced procedure requires a sophisticated facility and equipment – typically the da Vinci robotic surgical system – along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

Transurethral resection (TUR)  is a surgical procedure to remove tissue from an enlarged prostate, which may help with urine flow. The surgeon inserts an instrument called a resectoscope into the urethra through the tip of the penis.

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation from a source like X-rays or photons to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. It may be part of a treatment plan that also includes systemic therapies and/or surgery. Radiation is sometimes used to help ease a patient’s pain or discomfort. Radiation therapies include:

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) are advanced types of radiation therapies. IMRT uses advanced technology to manipulate the radiation beams to conform to the shape of a tumor. VMAT is a subtype of IMRT in which the machine actively delivers radiation beams while moving in an arc around the patient.

This method of radiation delivery offers next-generation capabilities. The arc-based therapy provided via VMAT delivers high doses of radiation to more focused areas, reducing side effects and the overall treatment time for the patient. This treatment is particularly effective at treating several types of cancer while at the same time reducing toxicity and harm to vital organs.

This procedure is one of several new ways to deliver radiation therapy. It requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

Stereotactic radiation (SABR/SBRT) is a group of treatments that includes stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and stereotactic ablative radiation (SABR) – both of which are adaptations of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) – for the treatment of targets in the body, but outside the brain. Similar to SRS, these techniques deliver very high doses of radiation using sophisticated motion management and patient immobilization techniques.

The number of radiation treatments is minimal and may range from one to five treatments delivered over one to two weeks.

This procedure is one of several new ways to deliver radiation therapy. It requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

Surface-guided radiation therapy (SGRT/SIGRT) is an approach to radiation targeting that offers real-time beam guidance from face and body surface-recognition systems.

This treatment is particularly effective at treating several types of cancer while at the same time reducing toxicity and harm to vital organs, thus minimizing side effects.

This advanced procedure requires a sophisticated facility and equipment, along with highly specialized physicians. It is available at some Providence locations.

Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) is a radiation planning and treatment technique in which three-dimensional (3D) imaging enables improved targeting for radiation treatment. 3D planning with CT imaging makes radiation treatment much more conformal, or tailored to the target.

Find Bladder Cancer Care Close to You

Accreditations

We are proud to see our dedication to our cancer patients recognized by some of the most well-respected programs and institutions in the United States. Several of our Providence locations have achieved the following accreditations:

Meet the Team

At Providence, you'll have access to a vast network of dedicated and compassionate providers who offer personalized care by focusing on treatment, prevention and health education.

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Find Clinical Trials

Are you looking for a clinical trial for yourself or for a patient? We’d love to help you find one!

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