Chemotherapy for bladder cancer involves the use of certain drugs to destroy cancerous cells by impairing their ability to grow and divide. A typical chemo regimen consists of several cycles during which a patient may receive a single drug or a combination of several drugs at the same time. Some options include mitomycin, thiotepa, doxorubicin, gemcitabine, valrubicin, methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin and cisplatin. After each cycle, a patient has several days without treatment to allow his or her body to recover.
Chemotherapy for bladder cancer can be used alone or in combination with other forms of treatment. For instance:
- Chemo may be recommended prior to surgery to destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells and shrink a tumor, which can increase the likelihood of a successful operation.
- After surgery, chemotherapy drugs may be administered directly into the bladder via a catheter inserted through the urethra (intravesical chemotherapy) to address residual cancer cells and help prevent recurrence. This is particularly important if the cancer has invaded the surrounding muscle wall.
- Chemo can be administered intravenously or orally (systemic chemotherapy) as the main form of treatment for a patient whose bladder cancer has spread through the lymphatic system to the lungs, liver or other organs or tissues.
- For a patient who is not a good candidate for surgery, chemotherapy can be combined with radiation therapy to help manage symptoms.
The research team at Moffitt Cancer Center is continually evaluating promising new chemotherapy drugs, drug combinations and dosages to improve response rates, slow the progression of bladder cancer and reduce the side effects of treatment. Moffitt is also nationally recognized for its extensive range of clinical trials, which provide our patients with opportunities to try groundbreaking new therapies as soon as they become available.
Chemotherapy for bladder cancer is available at all Moffitt locations. If you’d like to learn more, we provide consultations with or without referrals. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.