Compassionate bladder cancer care focused on your needs.

Legacy doctor asking male patient questions

What you need to know

Bladder cancer starts in the lining of the urinary bladder and may spread. There are three main types of bladder cancer that begin in this lining, named for the types of cells they involve.

1. Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC, also called urothelial carcinoma and is by far the most common) 

2. Squamous cell carcinoma

3. Adenocarcinoma

Other cancers of the bladder are rare and include sarcomas and small cell carcinoma.

More than a half million people in the U.S. are bladder cancer survivors. New bladder cases have been on the decrease for men and women in recent years. Survival rates have increased for women and remained stable for men.

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Understand your diagnosis

At this point, you’ve likely had a physical exam and reviewed your health history with your provider. You may have also had a biopsy to confirm your diagnosis. Following a diagnosis of bladder cancer, you may have more tests to help your doctor understand your cancer stage.

Cancer staging includes identifying where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and if it is affecting other parts of your body. Knowing the stage allows your doctor to develop your personalized treatment plan.

Some tests your doctor may now recommend include:

  • Chest X-ray, CT scan, MRI or positron emission tomography (PET): Imaging technology to look inside the body to see if the cancer has spread.
  • Bone scan: To see if it has spread to your bones. 

Customized treatment plans

Because each person and every cancer is different, your doctor uses your tests and exams to come up with an individual treatment plan. How long this takes depends on how complex your case is and your treatment goals. During this time, you build a relationship with your cancer doctors. You become a team for your care.

Open, honest communication can only benefit your relationship with your doctors. These tips can also help you get the most from this partnership:

  • Prepare in advance: Write down your questions ahead of your visits. A few examples of smart questions:
               - Why are we doing these tests?
               - Why do you think this treatment is right?
               - What side effects might this treatment cause?
  • Find trustworthy resources: If you’re looking to learn more, rely on this website or sources your team recommends, so you can make decisions based on good information.
  • Take a partner: Bringing a friend or family member to appointments can make you feel more confident and help you remember important details.

Treatment options

There are several ways to treat bladder cancer depending on the type and location of the tumor. Your treatment plan options may include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Transurethral surgery, alone or with intravesical chemotherapy (medicine put into the bladder), is used in nearly all cases.

Talk to your doctor to see if a clinical trial may be right for you. Learn more about your treatment options.

More support

You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Nurse navigators
Legacy Cancer Healing Center 
Support groups and classes
Cancer rehabilitation 
Survivorship services

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