Treatment Options

You will find information on possible treatment options for bladder cancer below.


Surgery is usually the main treatment course for bladder cancer. It may be done in conjunction with chemotherapy. Depending on your case, there are many different types of surgery that may be performed.

  • Transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT): removes tumours from the bladder through the urethra. This is the most common way to diagnose and treat early stages of bladder cancer.
  • Cystectomy: removes all or part of the bladder. This is most commonly used for bladder cancer that has grown into the muscle layer of the bladder wall.
  • Pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND): removes lymph nodes from the pelvis. This will usually be performed during a cystectomy.
  • Urinary diversion: a reconstructive surgery that makes a new way for urine to leave the body. Typically, this is done after removal of the entire bladder.


Immunotherapy can be placed directly in the bladder following a TURBT to treat early stages of bladder cancer. In more advanced stages, or once cancer is metastatic, immunotherapy can be used in place of chemotherapy if the latter does not work.


Much like immunotherapy, chemotherapy can be placed directly in the bladder following a TURBT, if the cancer is still in early stages. In later stages, chemotherapy will be administered systemically after a radical cystectomy (removal of the whole bladder). In some cases, chemotherapy can be combined with radiation therapy, in which case it is referred to as chemoradiation.
Chemotherapy can also help improve survival and quality of life for people with metastatic bladder cancer.

Radiation therapy

External radiation therapy is a course of treatment that can be used to treat bladder cancer. As previously mentioned, it can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Typically, this will be given after a TURBT surgery as a bladder-preserving approach, so that the bladder doesn’t have to be removed.
Radiation can also be used if the cancer is unresectable, or to control bleeding from the bladder.



Information taken from Canadian Cancer Society.