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Bladder cancer therapy options

Radiation therapy may be an option for a select group of patients who have muscle-invasive bladder cancer or who have cancer that is unable to be removed surgically. Radiation is often combined with chemotherapy to improve effectiveness of radiation. A machine directs the rays of energy to the area of cancer, with a goal to kill or shrink cancer cells.

  • When might radiation therapy be used for bladder cancer?

    For people with bladder cancer, radiation therapy is often used to ease their symptoms. Radiation is most often used along with other bladder cancer treatments, like surgery or chemotherapy.

    Your doctor may advise radiation to:

    • Relieve symptoms such as pain, bleeding, trouble swallowing, cough, or problems caused by a spread of cancer.
    • Shrink a tumor to make it easier to operate on before surgery.
    • Kill any remaining small areas of cancer following a surgery.
    • Treat a single area of cancer spread, such as a tumor in the brain or an adrenal gland. This may be done along with surgery to treat the tumor.