With intravesical therapy, the doctor puts a liquid drug right into your bladder rather than giving it by mouth or injecting it into your blood. The drug stays in your bladder for up to 2 hours. This way, the drug can affect the cells lining the inside of your bladder without having major effects on other parts of your body. When is intravesical therapy used? Some experts say it should be done within 6 hours.

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Exams and Tests To find out whether bladder cancer may be the cause of your urinary symptoms, your doctor will: Do a physical exam. This may include a rectal exam, a prostate exam for men, or a pelvic exam for women. Ask questions about your medical history, including: Your smoking history. Your possible exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.

Your family history of cancer. Order a urine test and urine culture to check for the presence of blood, infection, and other abnormal cells. A urine test may also be done to look for tumor markers , which can be signs of cancer.

Cystoscopy You will have a cystoscopy , a test that allows your doctor to look at your bladder with a thin, lighted tube. The doctor can use the same tube to take small tissue samples biopsies of any abnormal areas.

The samples will be looked at under a microscope to find out whether cancer cells are present and what the cells look like. Tests to determine stage and grade Bladder cancer is classified by stage and grade. The stage is determined by the cancer growth in the bladder wall and how far it has spread to nearby tissues and other organs, such as the lungs, the liver, or the bones.

The grade of bladder cancer is determined by how the cancer cells look in comparison with normal bladder cells. Your doctor finds out the stage and grade of your bladder cancer by gathering information from several tests, including: Biopsies from the cystoscopy. An intravenous pyelogram or CT urogram to look for a mass near the kidneys, ureters , or bladder. Ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging MRI.

These help find out if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes, the lungs, the liver, or other abdominal organs. CT scan. This finds out if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Chest X-ray. This finds out if the cancer has spread to the lungs. Bone scan. This finds out if the cancer has spread to the bones. Knowing the stage and grade of your cancer is important in choosing the right treatments. Other tests A complete blood count CBC to find out if you have anemia. A chemistry screen to evaluate kidney, liver, and bone functions.

Then, if the cancer does come back, you have a better chance of finding it early enough for successful treatment. Treatment Overview The choice of treatment and the long-term outcome prognosis for people who have bladder cancer depend on the stage and grade of cancer. When deciding about your treatment, your doctor also considers your age, overall health, and quality of life. Bladder cancer has a better chance of being treated successfully if it is found early.

Treatment choices for bladder cancer may include: Surgery to remove the cancer. Surgery, either alone or along with other treatments, is used in most cases.

Chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells using medicines. Chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery. Radiation therapy to destroy cancer cells using high-dose X-rays or other high-energy rays.

Radiation therapy may also be given before or after surgery and may be given at the same time as chemotherapy. For more information, see Other Treatment. For more information, see Medications. Stages and grades of bladder cancer There are five stages of bladder cancer, stages 0 to IV: footnote 3 Stage 0: Cancer cells are only on the surface of the inner layer of the bladder.

This may be called carcinoma in situ. Stage I: Cancer has grown deeper into the inner layer but not into the muscle layer. Stage II: Cancer has grown into the muscle layer of the bladder. Stage III: Cancer has grown through the muscle layer and into nearby organs, such as the prostate, uterus, or vagina.

Stage IV: Cancer has grown into the wall of the pelvis or the belly but not into any lymph nodes. Or the cancer has spread into at least one lymph node or to another part of the body, such as the liver, lungs, or bones.

The grade of bladder cancer is usually either low-grade LG or high-grade HG. High-grade tumors tend to grow faster. They are also more likely to spread than low-grade tumors.

When your doctor knows the grade of your cancer, this information will help him or her choose the best treatment plan for you. More information about bladder cancer is provided by the National Cancer Institute at www. Bladder cancer that comes back After initial treatment for bladder cancer, it is important to receive follow-up care, because bladder cancer often comes back recurs.

Your doctor will set up a regular schedule of checkups and tests. Bladder cancer may recur in the bladder, or it may spread metastasize to other parts of the body. Recurrent bladder cancer may be treated with surgery or chemotherapy to slow cancer growth and relieve symptoms.

Participation in a clinical trial may be recommended if you have been diagnosed with recurrent bladder cancer. Body image and sexual problems Sexual problems can be caused by physical or psychological factors related to the cancer or its treatment. You may experience less sexual pleasure or lose your desire to be sexually intimate. Women who have their bladder removed radical cystectomy will also have their ovaries and uterus removed.

They cannot become pregnant and may experience menopause soon after having this surgery. Men who have their prostate glands and seminal vesicles removed may have erection problems and will no longer produce semen.

Your feelings about your body may change after treatment for cancer. Managing your feelings about your body may involve talking openly about your concerns with your partner and discussing your feelings with your doctor.

Your doctor may also be able to refer you to groups that can offer support and information. Palliative care Palliative care is a kind of care for people who have a serious illness. Its goal is to improve your quality of lifeā€”not just in your body but also in your mind and spirit. You can have this care along with treatment to cure your illness. Palliative care providers will work to help control pain or side effects. And they can help your loved ones understand how to support you.

For more information, see the topic Palliative Care. End-of-life care For some people who have advanced cancer, a time comes when treatment to cure the cancer no longer seems like a good choice. This can be because the side effects, time, and costs of treatment are greater than the promise of cure or relief.

But you can still get treatment to make you as comfortable as possible during the time you have left. You and your doctor can decide when you may be ready for hospice care. For more information, see the topics: Care at the End of Life. Prevention Bladder cancer cannot be prevented, but you may be able to reduce some of your risk for getting it. Stop smoking. Cigarette smokers are much more likely to get bladder cancer than nonsmokers. For help on how to quit smoking, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

Avoid exposure to industrial chemicals, such as benzene substances and arylamines. Occupational exposure from working with dyes, rubbers, textiles, paints, leathers, and chemicals raises your risk for bladder cancer.

Avoid exposure to arsenic. Have your drinking water tested. Drink bottled water if you think that your water is contaminated with arsenic. Eat healthy foods. Experts believe that what you eat and drink may help prevent bladder cancer.

Choose a low-fat , low-cholesterol diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. For more information, see the topic Weight Management. Avoid dehydration. Increase your fluid intake, particularly water. Water dilutes cancer-causing chemicals. Home Treatment The side effects of bladder cancer treatment can be serious.

Healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and exercise may help control your symptoms. Your doctor may also give you medicines to help you with certain side effects. You can try home treatments: For nausea or vomiting , such as ginger or peppermint tea, gum, or candy.

Cancer: Controlling Nausea and Vomiting From Chemotherapy For diarrhea , such as small, frequent sips of water and bites of salty crackers. For constipation , such as plenty of water and fiber in your diet. Do not use a laxative without first talking to your doctor.

Other issues that can be treated at home include: Sleep problems. If you have trouble sleeping, try having a regular bedtime and getting exercise daily.

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