Radiation Therapy for Bladder Cancer
Precise radiation treatment for invasive bladder cancer.
Henry Ford is a world leader in new approaches to radiation therapy and the fast-developing field of radiosurgery, a type of radiation that uses precise, advanced technology to deliver higher doses of radiation in fewer sessions.
Our team often uses radiation therapy alongside transurethral resection (TUR) and chemotherapy for invasive bladder cancer that has spread (metastasized) to other areas of the body.
We also may recommend your treatment include a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy to try to save your bladder. This is only an option for select patients based on certain factors. Research has shown that up to 60 percent of patients will later require surgical removal of the bladder if the cancer returns.
You might be a good candidate for radiation therapy and chemotherapy if:
- You are too ill to have surgery
- You can tolerate chemotherapy
- Your bladder cancer is not at an advanced stage
What are the benefits of bladder cancer radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy allows us to shrink and kill cancer cells without harming nearby tissue or organs.
In most cases, you can receive your radiation treatments in a period of three and a half to four weeks — a much shorter timeline than in years past. Some patients may be able to get their treatments in as little as one week. This means less inconvenience and less time away from work, family and other responsibilities.
What types of bladder cancer radiation therapy are available?
We will tailor your radiation treatment plan to your specific bladder cancer diagnosis. Our radiation oncologists offer the latest bladder cancer treatment therapies, including:
- Three-dimension conformal radiation therapy (3D-CAT) uses special computers to find the precise location of the bladder tumor. From several directions, the radiation beams are aimed at the bladder, making it less likely to damage normal tissue
- Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) involves using a machine that moves and delivers radiation to the bladder. To allow the doctor to provide higher doses of radiation, the beams are shaped and precisely aimed. This treatment may take weeks to complete.
For select patients only, these options may be considered for radiation therapy:
- MRI-guided radiation therapy may be an option for select patients. With this new system, called ViewRay MRIdian Linac®, we can provide precise and accurate radiation treatment to the bladder. To help protect healthy tissue near cancer cells, imaging is done at the same time radiation treatment. This allows physicians to accurately target the cancer cells and use a strong dose of radiation to kill the cancer.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) involves delivering a large dose of radiation to precisely obliterate cancer cells in the bladder. The treatment may be completed in a few days, but the side effects may be greater than with IGRT.
Our radiation oncologists specialize in bladder cancer and will make sure you know what to expect to help you prepare for radiation therapy.