Bladder cancer

Bladder cancer treatment at GenesisCare

We are specialists in the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating all types of cancer, including bladder cancer. We have teams of highly trained cancer specialists who are experts in this disease. They work together to evaluate the newest, evidence-based treatments so we can offer these to every patient – without delay.

Chapter 1

Treatment overview

Bladder cancer treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy. We combine this with consultant-led integrative care, such as wellbeing therapies and psychological support, to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Our qualified physiotherapists and wellbeing consultants will carefully plan these therapies tailored to your needs by working with you and your consultant.

Bladder cancer starts in the inner lining of the bladder. There are two main types, which are classified by how far the cancer has spread. In the early stages, the cancer cells are contained inside the bladder lining, this is called non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. As the condition grows, it can extend into the surrounding muscle layer, becoming muscle-invasive bladder cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, there are around 10,200 people diagnosed with bladder cancer in the UK each year, and over half of these cases are in people aged 65 and over. Despite this, early diagnosis and treatment can mean a positive outcome for many.

We are the UK's leading specialist private cancer care provider. By choosing us, you can be reassured that your treatment will be managed by a team of specialists working together with you, to decide the best, personalised care plan for your situation.

It is our commitment to offering world-class care to every patient with cancer.

How is bladder cancer treated?

There are several options of treatment available for bladder cancer at GenesisCare, such as:

  • Surgery – removal of the cancerous part or all of the bladder, this can be done using either an endoscopic, open or robotic technique
  • Chemotherapy – anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs that destroy the cancer cells
  • Immunotherapy – drugs that help your body’s immune system recognise and fight the cancer
  • Radiotherapy – high-energy radiation beams which are targeted at the cancer cells

Contact us

These web pages provide more information about bladder cancer treatment at GenesisCare. If you'd like to contact us in confidence, we will be happy to answer any of your questions.
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Chapter 2

Diagnostics

How is bladder cancer diagnosed?

At GenesisCare we diagnose and treat a wide range of cancers, and we understand that this can be a very worrying time. Our diagnostic services are world-class, and our commitment is to give you the answers you need, as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that symptoms can often be caused by other conditions and not always bladder cancer. But, whatever your diagnosis, we can make sure you get the expert care you need and without delay.

If you’re concerned about bladder cancer symptoms, we offer specialist diagnostics and tests for bladder cancer, with expert consultants who specialise in conditions affecting the bladder, kidneys and urethra. They’ll assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you for diagnostic tests such as a cystoscopy, blood tests, urine tests, ultrasound or CT scan. Appointments are available within 24 hours.

Bladder cancer symptoms

The main symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine (haematuria). This usually looks bright red but sometimes can appear dark brown.

Other signs of bladder cancer include:

  • Having to urinate more often
  • A sudden need to urinate
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Pain in the lower back or abdomen
  • Feeling tired or unwell
  • Unexplained weight loss

Other benign conditions may cause these symptoms and having one or more of the signs above doesn’t mean you have bladder cancer. If you’re concerned about bladder cancer, you should seek medical advice or book an appointment through our UrologyHub.

 

UrologyHub

Fast and easy access to expert urologists and diagnostic services for a wide range of health conditions for men and women. Find out more.

Chapter 3

Surgery

Surgery is one of the main treatments for both non-muscle-invasive and muscle-invasive bladder cancer, forming part of an overall treatment and care plan.

Our consultants include expert surgeons who work in local and nationally renowned hospitals and will work together with other cancer specialists to decide the best course of treatment for you. If your consultant recommends bladder cancer surgery, this can be arranged conveniently at one of our partner hospitals. You can then continue your other treatments at GenesisCare.

There are different techniques for bladder cancer surgery, including endoscopic, open and robotic approaches. Your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate procedure depending on the location of your cancer.

Surgery side effects

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you, together with the ways your treatment plan and supportive care can help to manage or minimise these.

Chapter 4

Drug treatments

At GenesisCare, we offer all drug therapies that can be used to treat and manage bladder cancer, including many of the newest treatments. Depending on how these treatments are given to you, you may need to attend one of our private chemotherapy suites which are staffed by our specialist nurses. Our compassionate nursing teams are available 24/7 on a dedicated on-call telephone service and can answer any queries during your treatment. They'll be able to provide advice about side effects or symptoms and help arrange appropriate medical care when needed.

Our centres have all received the Macmillan Quality Environment Mark to reflect the quality of care we provide for people living with cancer.

There are different types of drug treatments, also called systemic anti-cancer therapies. Our expert teams continually review and assess new treatments to make these available to GenesisCare patients as early as possible.

Chemotherapy for bladder cancer

Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drugs to destroy cancer cells. It’s a treatment used for both non-muscle-invasive and muscle-invasive bladder cancer.

For muscle-invasive bladder cancer, chemotherapy may be delivered on its own before surgery to reduce the size of your tumour prior to the operation, or after surgery to reduce the chance of cancer recurrence. As an alternative to surgery, chemotherapy can be given in combination with radiotherapy (chemoradiation), with the intent of curing muscle invasive bladder cancer without the need for an operation.

Immunotherapy for bladder cancer

Immunotherapies work by helping your body’s immune system to recognise and fight the cancer. If you have non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer at high risk of coming back or spreading to the muscle wall, you may receive Bacillius Calmette-Guerin (BCG) administered directly in to the bladder through a catheter tube . BCG works by stimulating the growth and activity of your immune system cells in the bladder lining.

Palliative care

If your cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced or metastatic bladder cancer. At GenesisCare, you can receive palliative drug treatment for advanced bladder cancer, to reduce the size and progress of your cancer and ease any symptoms. This treatment may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of both.

Personalised medicine

For some advanced cancers, we use specialist tests, such as liquid biopsy or genomic testing, to understand the genetic make-up of cancer cells. This helps us to identify which drugs are available to work against the particular genetic mutations in a cancer, allowing us to start effective treatment without delay.

There may also be opportunities to access clinical trials for the newest treatments for ­­­­bladder cancer.

Drug treatment side effects

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you depending on your drug treatment, together with how your treatment plan and supportive care can help manage or minimise these.

Chapter 5

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses targeted, high-energy radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. It's only a treatment option for cancers that have spread into the bladder's muscle layer (muscle-invasive bladder cancer). However, if the cancer is localised to the bladder, radiotherapy can be curative.

At GenesisCare, we are the leading private provider of radiotherapy in the UK and offer world-class expertise and state-of-the-art facilities that specialise in advanced radiotherapy techniques. Our latest-generation radiotherapy machines (called linacs) deliver highly targeted radiation beams that are designed to be effective while minimising the radiation dose to healthy tissues.

Radiotherapy for bladder cancer

Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a modern radiotherapy technique that directs beams of radiation at the target area whilst moving in an arc around the patient. Together with surface-guided radiotherapy (SGRT) and image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), it’s possible to precisely target areas of cancer, adjusting the beam and intensity of the radiation dose to allow for movements in the body and avoid healthy tissues. Side effects of radiotherapy occur when healthy tissues receive radiation, so using this technique helps to limit the dose to tissues and organs surrounding the tumour. At GenesisCare, we offer VMAT wherever possible because it is widely recognised to be the highest standard of care currently available for patients needing this type of radiotherapy treatment.

We also offer palliative VMAT radiotherapy for those living with advanced bladder cancer, where it has spread elsewhere in the body. This can be effective in the control of bladder cancer symptoms. We understand that fast access to palliative care is paramount and can usually provide treatment within 48 hours of a planning imaging scan.

Side effects of radiotherapy

No treatment is without side effects. Your doctor will explain these to you start your course of radiotherapy, together with the ways your treatment plan and supporting care can help manage or minimise these.

Chapter 6

Integrative care

At GenesisCare, we do more than just treat your cancer. As part of our unique and integrative approach to cancer care, you can expect the best possible care and a personalised treatment plan that includes access to life-changing therapies which are proven to improve cancer-related outcomes. These therapies will be tailored to you to help you manage and cope with your cancer as well as the specific side effects of treatment.

Exercise medicine

Exercise medicine is a personalised programme of carefully planned and supported physical activity that has been shown to improve outcomes for cancer patients, enhancing quality of life and limiting the impact of cancer, such as by improving strength and reducing fatigue. One of our physiotherapists specialising in exercise for people living with cancer will provide a 12-week programme tailored to your needs and supported by our dedicated GenesisCare Exercise Medicine app. They’ll work closely with you to monitor changes in your health and support you throughout the programme to help you get the best results. This is available at selected GenesisCare centres.

Wellbeing

We also offer a wellbeing expert and holistic therapies such as counselling, acupuncture, massage and reflexology through our unique partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. This service is available to all ­­­­­bladder cancer patients at any of our 14 UK centres.

Chapter 7

Why choose us?

GenesisCare is a leading private provider of cancer care, offering the latest innovations and techniques that are proven to be safe and effective. If you choose us for bladder cancer treatment you will be under the care of a team of experts, including consultant oncologists and surgeons. They will design a personalised care plan based around your diagnosis and preferences, with treatment starting within days if needed. Every patient is also supported through their journey with life-changing therapies, such as exercise medicine and psychological support.

Our dedicated cancer centres are convenient and easy-to-access. You can use your private medical insurance, and we’re recognised by all leading insurers.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, our priority is to continue providing the very best cancer care with meticulous measures in place to ensure our patients receive the treatments they need safely and without delay. You can find out more about our COVID-19 safety measures here.

We are proud that so many patients rate our care as excellent as we help them through their cancer journey. Find out more about the unique experiences of people who have had their cancer diagnosis or treatment at GenesisCare in our patient stories section.