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Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a fairly common cancer, particularly among men.  Bladder cancer is more than twice as prevalent in men than in women. Caucasian individuals have a much higher risk for bladder cancer than African-American, Hispanic or Asian individuals.

Besides gender and race, risk factors include smoking, a diet high in fried meats and fats and low in antioxidants, and repeated exposure to rubber, paint, hairdressing chemicals, petroleum and certain other substances. 

Symptoms include blood in the urine, frequent urination and a feeling like you need to urinate but can't, pain during urination, or lower back pain.  Your physician may recommend diagnostic tests including X-ray or cystoscopy, which enables the doctor to see inside the bladder.

How is it diagnosed?
How is it treated?
How does Advocate Christ Medical Center make a difference?
Frequently Asked Questions



How is it diagnosed?

Physicians use a number of tests to screen people at high risk or those suspected of having bladder cancer. These screening tests include:

  • Cystoscopy-uses a thin tube with a camera that is placed into the bladder to see anything suspicious and take a sample for biopsy.
  • Urine cytology-involves examining urine for cancer cells.
  • Biopsy-involves examining a sample of tissue under a microscope to determine if the tissue is cancerous.
  • Computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that combines multiple X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images ("slices") of the kidneys and other organs, bones, muscle or tissue.
  • Ultrasound - uses soundwaves to create a picture of the kidneys and other organs.  Solid tumors and cysts are visible on the ultrasound image.
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) - involves injecting a dye into a vein.  As the dye travels through the body and collects in the kidneys, a series of X-rays records its movement.  The X-rays help doctors see if there are obstructions or other problems in the kidneys, ureters or bladder.


How is it treated?

Surgery often is recommended for bladder cancer. There are several types of surgery, including:

  • Transurethral resection (TUR)-a minimally invasive procedure performed through the urethra to remove the cancer or burn it away with high-energy heat.
  • Cystectomy-surgical removal of the bladder.  Segmental cystectomy involves removing a section of the bladder, so the patient maintains normal urination.  Radical cystectomy involves removing the entire bladder and any lymph nodes that have cancer.  Nearby organs also may be removed if the cancer has spread.  After radical cystectomy, the surgeon reconstructs an alternate way to urinate.

Radiation therapy, chemotherapy and biologic therapies (immunotherapy) also may be recommended to treat bladder cancer.



How does Advocate Christ Medical Center make a difference?

Advocate Christ Medical Center was the first hospital in the south suburbs to perform ileal neobladder reconstruction, which allows for normal elimination of urine in some patients after the bladder is removed. Our reconstructive urologists utilize a full span of surgical and non-surgical options to restore continence after bladder surgery.

Our doctors regularly see new patients with bladder cancer, so they understand the disease well and apply their depth of experience to providing the best care for each individual.

Urologists at Christ Medical Center often use minimally invasive techniques such as transurethral resection (TUR) to remove tumors from the bladder, without making a large incision through the abdomen or pelvis.  Minimally invasive surgery translates to less pain and faster recovery.

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