Bladder Cancer Treatments in Lubbock, TX

The board-certified urologists at Covenant Health Urology Group provide bladder cancer consultations and treatments at our office in Lubbock, Texas. Learn about the bladder and bladder cancer procedures and call us at (806) 725-8787 to schedule your appointment today.

How does bladder cancer develop?

The bladder is a hollow organ that sits inside the pelvis. It receives urine from the kidneys and then squeezes the urine out when a person is ready to use the restroom. The bladder wall has several layers made up of different types of cells. Most bladder cancer begins in the superficial most layer called the urothelium. As bladder cancer grows, it may form a mass within the bladder itself. Sometimes it will grow through the layers of the bladder wall. Bladder cancer may spread to tissue nearby the bladder and they sometimes spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body further away.


What are symptoms of bladder cancer?

 The most common symptom of bladder cancer is painless blood in the urine. Other symptoms include frequency and urgency, pain when you pass urine, pain in the lower abdomen and back pain. It is very important not to ignore blood in the urine. There are other causes for blood in the urine such as kidney stones, but sometimes blood in the urine is the only signal that bladder cancer is developing.


What causes bladder cancer?

There is no single cause of bladder cancer. However there are certain risk factors that exist. Smoking tobacco is the biggest risk factor for developing bladder cancer. People who continue to smoke are at higher risk of bladder cancer then people who have stopped smoking. Contact with certain chemicals used to make plastics, paints, leather, textiles and rubber may also cause bladder cancer. There are also certain genetic causes that are linked to bladder cancer.


How is bladder cancer diagnosed?

A urine analysis will often pick up on red blood cells in the urine. A urine cytology is a study of urine cells under the microscope. This typically occurs in the pathology lab. Your doctor may order some blood tests to evaluate your kidney function. A CT scan is often ordered when blood is seen in the urine. Sometimes a CT scan will visualize a bladder tumor other times the tumor may be too small to pick up on a CT scan. The best way to diagnose a bladder tumor is with a look in the bladder called cystoscopy. A doctor will use a narrow telescope to look in the bladder usually in an office setting. Once a bladder tumor is identified your doctor will perform a surgery called Transurethral resection of a bladder tumor (TURBT). This surgery will help to identify which layer of the bladder the tumor invades and the pathologic description of the tumor type.


What happens after bladder cancer is diagnosed?

Bladder cancer has a high chance of recurrence even after complete resection with transurethral resection of bladder tumor. Thus it is very important to follow up with your surgeon after this procedure is performed. Treatment after bladder cancer diagnosis depends on the type of tumor identified and how far into the bladder wall the cancer has grown. Broadly, there are two types of bladder cancer. Nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer and muscle invasive bladder cancer. Treatment for non muscle invasive bladder cancer typically involves chemotherapy that is given directly into the bladder over a course of six to 8 weeks. This treatment is then followed by a period of surveillance over the next two to three years with cystoscopy in the office or under anesthesia. Treatment for muscle invasive bladder cancer often involves removal of the bladder versus chemotherapy and radiation versus a combination of treatment.


What to expect with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer?

Tumors that are graded as having a low malignant potential will often be followed by a period of surveillance only. This may include cystoscopy in the office and a cytology every three months for a period of two to three years.

Tumors that have a high potential for leading to metastatic disease are often treated with A6 to 8 week course of bladder chemotherapy. Treatments occur weekly and involve an infusion of chemotherapy or immunotherapy into the bladder itself via a catheter. Once the therapy is complete a repeat procedure will be performed to ensure that all the cancer is gone. Surveillance cystoscopy and cytology are then usually ordered for the next two to three years.


What to expect with muscle invasive bladder cancer?

Once a bladder cancer reaches the muscular layer of the bladder the chance for spread to the rest of the body is higher then if the cancer has not reached the muscle. Because of the higher malignant risk, surgery to remove the bladder and surrounding lymph nodes is usually prescribed. The procedure may be preceded or followed by chemotherapy. If cystectomy (removal of the bladder) is performed, a reservoir for urine storage must be reconstructed. This is usually accomplished by using a part of the small bowel or large bowel. Your surgeon or provide details on which option is best for you.


What to expect after surgical treatment?

It is very important to continue follow up with your surgeon after removal of the bladder. Blood work and confirmation that urinary storage and urine emptying are working properly should take place. Supportive care is available should you require an appliance known as an ostomy.

Schedule a Consultation

If you would like to talk to a urologist at Covenant Urology Group about your bladder or bladder cancer, please give us a call at (806) 725-8787.