Bladder cancer affects mostly older adults and has been linked to tobacco use, including chewing tobacco and pipes as well as cigarettes. Most cases are diagnosed at an early stage when the cancer is highly treatable. But because bladder cancer often recurs, it is vital for patients to be treated in a program such as the one at Virginia Mason that meticulously follows them to ensure their continued health and recovery. Our targeted and focused approach to treating bladder cancer starts with an individual plan of care uniquely created for each patient. This treatment plan is developed by a multidisciplinary team that includes surgical, radiological and medical oncologists as well as plastic and reconstructive surgeons with support from other cancer care professionals such as nurses, nutritionists, physical therapists and social workers.
Surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy are all options in the treatment of bladder cancer. Virginia Mason is one of two programs in the state to offer minimally invasive robotic procedures that allow for shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times. Our surgeons often use an innovative two-team approach in which the first team extractes the cancer and the second team reconstructs the genitourinary tract, which is the system of organs concerned with the production and excretion of urine as well as reproduction. When appropriate, our radiation oncologists use external radiation in combination with chemotherapy to preserve the bladder without the use of surgery. Virginia Mason's medical oncology team has years of experience successfully using chemotherapy to treat bladder cancer and access to clinical trials evaluating new agents (specifically immunotherapy) for use in cases of advanced disease.
Bladder cancer patients have a care coordinator assigned to them to answer questions and coordinate their care. This person is with each patient every step of the way from diagnosis through treatment and recovery.
Wellness and Rehabilitation
Patient needs are continually assessed and addressed to minimize the effect of bladder cancer on overall health and happiness. We enhance our patients' quality of life in treatment and recovery through an emphasis on cancer wellness and rehabilitation, including recommendations and support for sexual function, nutrition and exercise.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (206) 223-6772.