As part of your treatment for bladder cancer, you may receive radiation therapy either before surgery to shrink the cancer or after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells. For example, our doctors may recommend this approach for patients having surgery to preserve their bladder. We may also use radiation in place of surgery depending on your specific condition.
We use sophisticated techniques to give you the best therapeutic outcome while minimizing damage to normal tissue.
An approach to radiation therapy called intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) enables us to deliver pencil-thin radiation beams of varying intensity to fit your tumor’s specific outline and size. This approach can be safer than other methods because it lowers the amount of radiation that affects healthy tissues; it can also reduce treatment side effects.
Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) is a more sophisticated form of IMRT. It allows our radiation oncologists to make adjustments as you’re receiving the treatment so they can target the tumor with even more precision.
Sometimes we give another form of radiation called brachytherapy during surgery to remove the tumor. In this technique, a radiation therapist works with the surgeon to identify areas where cancer cells may be left behind after a tumor is removed.
We deliver powerful radiation through thin tubes called catheters that are placed directly on the at-risk tissue. Normal tissue that is especially radiation-sensitive can be shielded and protected. Once the procedure is completed, all radiation-related materials are removed and the operation continues.