Bladder cancer risk factors treatment and chances of cure

About 16.000 new cases are diagnosed annually in Germany, with males being affected almost three times as often as females. Patients and relatives ask themselves how bladder cancer can be cured and what the underlying causes are. This expert interview goes a step further and likewise highlights the warning signs and prevention options.

This is especially important for patients who have had bladder cancer and have been successfully operated on, and who are now undergoing follow-up care with regular check-ups, including bladderoscopy. These procedures have their importance in this situation, for the early detection of a recurrence, i.e. a relapse.

Is chemotherapy or radiotherapy necessary?

First, it is important to know that 70 percent of all newly diagnosed bladder cancers are so-called superficial bladder tumors. This means that they have not grown into the actual bladder muscle. These “superficial” forms are operated on. Ablated through the urethra with an electric loop (electroresection).

Radiation therapy is not required in any case, nor chemotherapy in the usual sense of the word. What may be useful, however, is the administration of a chemotherapeutic agent through a catheter into the urinary bladder. This is then left to act for an hour, then the bladder is emptied. This reduces the rate of recurrence.

If bladder cancer automatically leads to an artificial urinary diversion (for example, neobladder)?

If the bladder cancer has grown into the deeper muscles of the urinary bladder, then electroresection can no longer solve the problem. In such cases, complete removal of the urinary bladder by surgery is required as a life-saving measure. If the bladder is removed, a “urinary diversion” must be created. This can be a “neobladder,” in which a replacement bladder is formed from small intestine during the same surgery.

More commonly than a neobladder, however, a stoma diversion is made with a shorter piece of small bowel, called a conduit. This means that the urine is drained to the outside and collected there in a bag. If the bladder cancer is far advanced during the operation, for example with lymph node involvement, chemotherapy may be necessary afterwards.

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