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Radiation Treatment for Bladder Cancer

Radiation treatment for bladder cancer uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. This type of radiation treatment is local therapy, which means it only affects cancer cells in the treated area. Doctors use two types of radiation treatment for bladder cancer: external radiation and internal radiation. Some patients with bladder cancer receive both kinds of radiation treatment for bladder cancer.

Radiation Treatment for Bladder Cancer: An Introduction

Radiation treatment (also called radiotherapy) uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Like surgery, radiation treatment for bladder cancer is local therapy, which means that it only affects cancer cells that are in the treated area. While a small number of patients may have radiation treatment before surgery to shrink the tumor, others may have radiation treatment after surgery to kill cancer cells that may remain in the area. Sometimes, radiation treatment is used for bladder cancer patients who cannot have surgery.
 

Types of Radiation Treatment for Bladder Cancer

Doctors use two types of radiation treatment for bladder cancer: external radiation and internal radiation. Some patients with bladder cancer receive both kinds of radiation treatment.
 
External Radiation
In external radiation treatment for bladder cancer, a large machine outside the body aims radiation at the tumor area. Most people receiving external radiation are treated 5 days a week for 5 to 7 weeks as an outpatient. This schedule helps protect healthy cells and tissues by spreading out the total dose of radiation. Treatment may be shorter when external radiation is given along with radiation implants.
 
Internal Radiation
In internal radiation treatment for bladder cancer, the doctor places a small container of a radioactive substance into the bladder through the urethra or through an incision in the abdomen. The patient stays in the hospital for several days during this treatment. In order to protect others from radiation exposure, patients may not be able to have visitors or may have visitors for only a short period of time while the implant is in place. Once the implant is removed, no radioactivity will be left in the body.
 
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Bladder Cancer Treatments

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