Bladder cancer is a disease in which cells multiply and spread abnormally in the tissues of the bladder. Located in the pelvis, the bladder is part of the urinary tract that stores urine. Bladder cancer may spread to adjacent organs and lymph nodes prior to spreading through the blood stream to the lungs, liver, bones, or other organs.
The various types of bladder cancer include:
- Transitional cell carcinoma, which originates in cells lining the inside of the bladder. This is the most common form of bladder cancer, accounting for 97% of all cases
- Squamous cell carcinoma, which originates in thin, flat cells that are found on the surface of the skin
- Adenocarcinoma, which originates in cells that produce and release mucus and other fluids
Bladder cancers are classified (staged) by how deeply they invade into the bladder wall, which has several layers. Superficial bladder cancer is limited to the innermost linings of the bladder. Invasive bladder cancer penetrates the muscular layer of the bladder wall.
Bladder cancer develops in more than 50,000 Americans each year. According to the American Cancer Society, men are about three times more likely than women to develop bladder cancer, and older people are more likely to be affected by the disease.
Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program
The Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program provides each patient with an individualized treatment plan based on the stage of the cancer as well as the patient's age, health, and personal choices. Patients may obtain an outpatient second opinion with a Fox Chase Cancer Center specialist who comes to Virtua to meet with the patient and family.
Interdisciplinary care teams are staffed by oncology experts, including board-certified, fellowship-trained urologic oncologists who have completed advanced training at leading medical institutions such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Yale-New Haven Hospital and Duke University Medical Center.
The clinical staff also includes surgeons specially trained in pelvic surgery and reconstruction techniques that help improve surgical outcomes and minimize the potential effects of surgery to this sensitive area of the body. In addition, a team of oncology certified and advanced practice nurses provides expert treatment, education, and support to patients and their families.
Interdisciplinary clinical care teams may also include:
- Urologic oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
- Medical oncologists
- Oncology social workers
- Dietitians and physical therapists
Bladder cancer treatment requires a team of specialists because the care often includes:
- Drug therapy
- Nursing care
- Physical support
- Emotional support
The Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program provides this full range of care – and additional services – in a coordinated and supportive environment.
Surgery is a common treatment option for people who have bladder cancer. The clinical staff at the Virtua Fox Chase Cancer Program includes surgeons specially trained in pelvic surgery and reconstruction techniques that help to improve surgical outcomes and minimize the potential effects of surgery to this sensitive area of the body.
The program also has outpatient chemotherapy and infusion centers at Virtua Marlton, Virtua Memorial and Virtua Voorhees hospitals.
Learn more about minimally invasive surgery through robotic-assisted surgery, which uses a state-of-the-art surgical system. The technology allows the doctor to perform complex procedures through just a few tiny openings. As a result, patients may be able to get back to life faster without the usual recovery following major surgery.