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Bladder cancer

The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on July 14, 2021.

Bladder cancer requires personalized care. Our cancer experts are here to help.

Bladder cancer is a disease that forms in the bladder, a hollow organ in the pelvis that stores urine before it leaves the body. In terms of causes and risk factors, cancer affects men much more often than women (it’s the fourth most common cancer in men), and white people are more likely to get the disease than African Americans or Hispanics, according to the American Cancer Society. The average age at diagnosis is 73. Because the bladder is responsible for holding urine after it is produced by the kidneys, many symptoms of bladder cancer may relate to urination abnormalities, such as blood in the urine, frequent urination, pain during urination and a feeling of urination urgency even when the bladder is not full.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our cancer experts have extensive experience in diagnosing, staging and treating bladder cancer. You may undergo tests such as a cystoscopy, advanced genomic testing, biopsy and/or X-ray to determine the type and extent of the disease. Then, a multidisciplinary team of doctors and clinicians will work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to you and your needs, including therapies to help you manage the side effects of the disease and its treatment.

What you should know after a bladder cancer diagnosis

Treatment options

close-up of scientist evaluating lab test viles of multiple colors

Multiple treatment options are used for bladder cancer, and which are appropriate for you depends on the stage and location of the disease. A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts will recommend treatment options based on each patient’s unique diagnosis. Common treatments for bladder cancer include:

This is typically the first treatment option for early-stage bladder cancers because tumors have likely not spread to other areas of the body.

Radiation therapy
Radiation may be used alone to shrink a tumor or in combination with chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy may be recommended before surgery to shrink a large tumor, so it can be more easily removed, or after surgery or radiation therapy to kill remaining cancer cells.

Immunotherapy uses medicines to help the immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells.

Learn more about treatments for bladder cancer

Supportive care

An integrative team of cancer experts helps manage the side effects of treatment, using supportive care therapies designed to help patients stay strong and maintain their quality of life throughout treatment. The range of supportive care services for bladder cancer patients may include:


​Nutritional support

Every patient has the option of meeting with a registered dietitian.


​Pain management

Pain management is a branch of medicine focused on reducing pain and improving quality of life through an integrative approach to care.


Behavioral health

​Our behavioral health support program is designed to support you and your caregivers before, during and after cancer treatment.

Jennifer Balzano

Jennifer B.

Bladder Cancer

"The most unexpected outcome from this experience is that I like myself better after going through cancer treatment. I am more patient and more caring. I was attentive to the needs of others before, but now I have so much more awareness. Having gone through a time of such need, now I want to be there for others even more. It is strange to say that I’m a better person for having had cancer, but it’s true.



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