Your Cancer Has Met Its Match.
Bladder Cancer Care at Allegheny Health Network
Here's the good news. Bladder cancer is a rare type of urinary tract cancer, accounting for only about 5% of all new cancers in the United States. And if you have bladder cancer, the survival rate stands at around 80%.
But there’s even better news. You cancer care team at Allegheny Health Network uses the latest techniques and treatments to make sure you’re receiving the best possible care. Because although your odds of survival are good, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help you make a full recovery.
Click on the link below to learn more Bladder cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosing Bladder Cancer
Our state-of-the-art diagnostic tests include:
- Transrectal ultrasound finds abnormalities in the rectum and nearby tissues. Using a small probe, it sends out high-energy sound waves to create a picture of the surrounding area.
- Computer tomography scan (CT or Cat scan) uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to create cross sectional, horizontal and vertical images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan is more detailed than conventional X-rays and shows detailed images of any part of the body, including bones, muscles, fat and organs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a computer, powerful magnets, and radio frequency waves to produce detailed images. Unlike X-rays, it doesn’t use radiation. MRIs are mainly used to look for any signs that the cancer may have spread beyond the bladder into nearly tissues or lymph nodes.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that helps reveal how the tissues around your bladder are functioning. Using a radioactive drug glucose (called a tracer) that can be injected, swallowed or inhaled, doctors can easily see areas of the body that have a higher level of chemical activity and therefore a greater chance for a tumor.
Treating Bladder Cancer
At Allegheny Health Network there are many treatment options including:
The surgeons at The Cancer Institute utilize the very latest surgical procedures for the treatment of Bladder cancer and other cancer related symptoms. Your surgical team consists of surgical oncologists, nurses, surgical technicians, anesthesiologists and other cancer and other cancer professionals. Their combined expertise ensures the highest quality care for you with the best possible outcome.
The Cancer Institutes advanced surgical treatments include:
- Laparoscopic/minimally invasive/robotic surgery. This technique uses tiny instruments and robotic devices to surgically remove cancerous tissue. This highly sophisticated technology enables surgeons to see the targeted area in color with enhanced magnification, thereby much less invasive with smaller incisions, a reduced recovery time and minimal pain and scarring.
- Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM). This minimally invasive procedure removes polyps and small cancerous tissues from the rectum that are too large to be removed by traditional Laparoscopic methods.
- Sphincter-preservation rectal surgery. This reconstructive surgery enables patients to avoid the need for a permanent colostomy while removing tumors without impacting the sphincter.
Treatment for you cancer may not require surgery. In many cases Radiation Therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that’s used to shrink and destroy cancer cells. In other cases, it’s used after surgery to treat cancer cells that still remain or as an alternative to surgery and chemotherapy. It can also be used in conjunction with chemotherapy. You along with your doctor can decide what course of treatment will be most beneficial relative to your diagnosis.
At the Cancer Institute at Allegheny Health Network we use state-of-the-art technology, including advanced computer software and imaging, to administer high –dose radiation beams directly to a tumor, minimizing exposure to the he surrounding healthy tissue.
As the only radiation oncology network accredited in western Pennsylvania by both the American Society for Radiation Oncology and American College of Radiology, you can feel assured knowing you are receiving the highest quality care available. As a patient, this means that when I come to your care and treatment, The Cancer Institute meets specific guidelines for patient safety and adequacy of equipment, as well as quality-control procedures and quality assurance programs.
The Cancer Institutes advanced radiation therapies include:
- Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT). Used in areas of the body that move, such as the bladder and lungs, this therapy is used during radiation therapy to improve the accuracy of treatment delivery. The technology allows the doctor to create an image of the tumor before and during the procedure, enabling them to more precisely determine and target the radiation dose needed to affect the tumor.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This high-precision treatment uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to deliver precise doses of radiation to a malignant tumor. IMRT allows for a more the dose to conform more precisely to the shape of the tumor by controlling the intensity and accuracy of the radiation beam.
- Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT). Originally pioneered at Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, this technique combines precision of image guidance and the accuracy of IMRT to deliver high doses of radiation to the affected tissue.
The department of Medical Oncology specializes in diagnosing and caring for patients with a variety of drug treatments, including chemotherapy, targeted/immunotherapy and adjuvant (treatment after surgery) and neoadjuvant (treatment before surgery) therapy. Medicine can be administered by mouth (oral) or by vein (intravenous) depending upon the treatment plan developed by your primary doctor, which in many cases is a medical oncologist. Throughout your care, your medical oncologist will coordinate your medication dosage and schedule. Your 24/7 Care Navigator may also be a part of this coordinated care effort.
The Cancer Institutes’ advanced medical oncology therapies include:
- Chemotherapy. This type of medicine directly kills cancer cells, much like antibiotics kill bacteria. Because of their potency and ability to also damage normal cells, chemotherapy drugs can produce side effects, such as hair loss, nausea or lowered blood counts. Fortunately, your body’s normal cells are more resilient and repair themselves much better than cancer cells. Throughout your treatment, we carefully monitor your wellness and determine your dosage to minimize side effects and maximize the chemotherapy’s effectiveness.
- Targeted therapy. Much less toxic, and in some cases, more effective than traditional chemotherapy, this treatment attacks specific genes within the surrounding blood vessels that help cancer to grow.
- Immunotherapy. This form of biological therapy is designed to help your own immune system do a better job of fighting your cancer. Working to enhance immune system function at the cellular level, immunotherapy can utilize cancer vaccines, genetically engineered human immune stimulatory molecules, and monoclonal antibodies.
- Adjuvant therapy. Given after surgery, this therapy helps reduce the chance of microscopic cancer cells remaining in your body, thereby reducing the risk of your cancer recurring.
- Neoadjuvant therapy. Given before surgery, this therapy may include chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, and is designed to reduce the size of the tumor thereby allowing for a better surgical outcome.