If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, you may be searching for valuable information to figure out the best options for managing your symptoms and treating your cancer. At Advantage Urology in Encino, California, Daniel J. Cosgrove, MD, FACS, can provide you with the answers you need. For a consultation, call the office or request your visit online today.
Bladder cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the bladder. This is more commonly seen in men than in women.
You could be at risk of bladder cancer if you smoke, have been exposed to chemicals or radiation, or have a history of chronic bladder irritation. A family history of bladder cancer also places you at higher risk.
Most cases of bladder cancer are detected early, which usually means an improved response to treatment and better outcomes.
Most cases of bladder cancer are non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC), which usually does not spread anywhere outside of the bladder. It does not involve the bladder muscle but is rather found on the tissue lining the inner surface of the bladder.
The most common sign of bladder cancer is blood in the urine. You can also experience:
If your cancer is more advanced, you can also experience loss of appetite, unexpected weight loss, weakness, and have difficulty urinating.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, Dr. Cosgrove can do a full evaluation to determine if your symptoms are due to bladder cancer or something else.
When you come in with symptoms that could indicate bladder cancer, Dr. Cosgrove reviews your symptoms and medical history.
Your specialist also does a physical exam, blood work, and a urine test. Specialized testing might also be needed to confirm a diagnosis. These tests include:
During a cystoscopy, your specialist inserts a scope through your urethra to take a closer look at the tissue inside your bladder.
X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs could also be recommended to further assess your bladder and determine the stage of your cancer, which often determines the kind of treatment your doctor will recommend.
Dr. Cosgrove can help walk you through your treatment options based on the stage and advancement of your bladder cancer. He can also provide referrals to other specialists to help you if needed.
If Dr. Cosgrove identifies early-stage bladder cancer during a cystoscopy. If very small, he might be able to remove the tumor at the same time.
When bladder cancer affects the bladder’s surface tissue, the most common approach is transurethral resection of bladder tumors (TURBT).
This procedure involves using instruments that fit into your urinary tract while you are asleep under anesthesia. This is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove tumors and prevent the cancer from spreading.
It is also possible to deliver medication through a urethral catheter to slow the tumor’s growth or prevent the cancer from returning.
For more advanced cases, it may be necessary to remove some or all of the bladder (cystectomy). Dr. Cosgrove can refer you to a specialist who uses the da Vinci® robotic platform to perform prostate-sparing cystectomy in men and cystectomy that preserves the vaginal wall in women. These methods help prevent post-surgical problems such as incontinence and loss of sexual function.
After a cystectomy, you need to undergo urinary reconstruction to enable you to pass urine. Choices include:
Dr. Cosgrove creates a new bladder from a section of the intestine. The neobladder connects to your urethra to enable you to pass urine normally.
The pouch allows you to empty urine outside your body through a small opening called a stoma.
An ileal-conduit uses a small section of the intestine to deliver urine to an external bag or device.
To get answers to your questions after a bladder cancer diagnosis, call Advantage Urology today.