TUESDAY, July 27, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Patients with invasive bladder cancer need not lose their bladder to the disease, contends an article in the current issue of the Journal of General Oncology.
Doctors have found minimally invasive surgery combined with chemotherapy and radiation therapy has potential in some patients to cure the cancer and preserve the bladder, a pilot study by the University of Michigan Health System has found.
Typically, treatment for invasive bladder cancer has meant an operation to remove the bladder and nearby organs, leaving patients with a reconstructed bladder or a urostomy bag.
In the study, 24 patients underwent transurethral surgery -- which requires no incision -- to remove the tumor cells. Six weeks of radiation therapy and low doses of a chemotherapy drug called gemcitabine followed the surgery.
About four years later, 65 percent of the patients were cancer-free, results that mirror more aggressive surgery.
The National Institutes of Health has more about bladder cancer.