Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that begins in your bladder - a balloon-shaped organ in the pelvic region that stores urine. Bladder cancer is most often found in the cells that line the inside of the bladder. More than 500,000 people in the United States are survivors of this cancer.

There are four main types of cancer that affect the bladder:

  • Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) (also called urothelial carcinoma) - 95 percent are TCC. (Rarely, fewer than five percent, other types of bladder cancer occur)
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Small cell carcinoma


The type of bladder cancer you have will affect your treatment options.

At the Legacy Cancer Institute we offer leading edge treatments and are committed to finding the one that is best for you. We know that living with a diagnosis of cancer, and its management, can have a profound effect on your functional, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. That's why we offer a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to your care. That means we treat the whole person, because you have a life, not just a diagnosis.

Award-winning care

Legacy ranks among the nation's top cancer programs and has received multiple quality awards including the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. More of our patients survive bladder cancer than the national average (among Commission on Cancer programs):

  • Legacy Cancer Institute overall five-year survival rate for bladder cancer patients: 66.6%
  • National overall five-year survival rate for patients treated at Commission on Cancer programs (79,540 patients): 62.4%

Treatment options

The main types of treatment for cancer of the bladder are: trans-urethral surgery, intravesical therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. A treatment may be given alone or in combination with other types, depending on the stage of the cancer. Trans-urethral surgery, alone or with intra-vesicle chemotherapy, is used in nearly all cases.

  • Surgery is often able to remove early bladder tumors successfully. Rarely, surgery to remove the whole bladder is needed.

  • Intravesical therapy -- this treatment delivers a drug directly into the bladder (through a catheter) rather than being given by mouth or injected into a vein.

  •  Chemotherapy 

  • Radiation, the use of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells, is often combined with chemotherapy to make radiation treatments more effective.                            

Physician case review

Our multidisciplinary cancer care conferences review complex cases to provide an expert "second opinion" on diagnosis, pre-treatment evaluation, staging, treatment strategy and rehabilitation. The team includes urologic surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, nurses, research coordinators and other cancer care staff.

You're not alone

At the Legacy Cancer Institute we offer services to support every aspect of your treatment including your physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. We offer a wide range of support services to help you and your family. If you need help just ask us, and we'll help you find the support you need.

Nurse navigators

Our personalized support services begin with our nurse navigators. They will help you throughout your treatment, from knowing what to expect to finding the right support services and helping you manage symptoms and treatment side effects. Contact a nurse navigator here.

Support services

In addition, the following support services are also available:

Our providers

Michael J. Kaempf, MD, Urologist and Surgeon
Bruce A. Lowe, MD, Urologist and Surgeon
Gregory B. McCoy, MD, Urologist and Surgeon
Sajal Dutta, MD, Urologist and Surgeon
Michael Gardner, MD, Urologist and Surgeon