Advanced Bladder Cancer

Bladder Cancer

Patients with Stage 4 bladder cancer have cancer that has spread through the bladder wall and invaded the pelvic and/or abdominal wall and has spread to distant sites. Stage 4 bladder cancer is also referred to as “advanced” or “metastatic” bladder cancer. The most common areas affected include regional and distant lymph nodes, bone, lung, and liver.

The following is a general guide of the treatment of Stage 4 bladder cancer. Your cancer will ultimately influence the treatments that are right for your situation. The information on this web-site is intended to help inform you about possible treatment options and to create discussion with your treatment team.

Because most patients with Stage 4 bladder cancer have disease that has already spread and cannot be removed with surgery, treatment that can kill cancer cells throughout the body is necessary. Standard treatment consists of chemotherapy and occasionally surgery and radiation.

Some patients with bladder cancer have Stage 4 disease based only on the presence of local lymph node involvement and they have no evidence of distant spread of cancer. These patients can be managed the same as Stage 3 patients if all the cancer can be surgically removed by radical cystectomy and bilateral lymph node dissection.

Treatment may also include surgery, radiation, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatment techniques. Multidisciplinary treatment, which uses two or more treatment types, is important for every cancer patient and will help in creating a care plan and goals for improving a chance of cure or increasing survival rate. In some cases, participation in a clinical trial may provide additional options.