Bladder cancer is the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the 10th most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. Bladder cancer is most common in older adults - less than one percent of cases occur in people under 40.
Bladder cancer that is limited to just the inner lining of the bladder is called superficial and is the easiest form of bladder cancer to treat. About 75 percent of all bladder cancers are detected at this early stage, and the survival rate is greater than 90 percent. Treatment becomes more difficult and the survival rate decreases if the cancer has spread beyond the bladder's inner lining. Surgical removal of the bladder (radical cystectomy) is the most effective treatment for bladder cancer that has invaded the muscle wall of the bladder.
Mayo Clinic researchers are investigating many different treatment approaches to treating bladder cancer. In addition to continuously refining surgical treatment options, they are evaluating new chemotherapy regimens for advanced and metastatic bladder cancer. For example, one strategy being investigated currently is chemotherapy given prior to cystectomy (neoadjuvant chemotherapy). Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is the first step toward bladder preservation and allows physicians to observe whether the chemotherapy is working.
The following are summaries of recent and current areas of research on bladder cancer.
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