Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) refers to early-stage cancer that's present only in the lining of the bladder and not the deeper muscle tissue. The treatment options for NMIBC differ from muscle-invasive bladder cancer, and there are a few treatment options available. The recommended treatment is dependent upon whether it seems likely the cancer will spread or return post-treatment, which can be determined to some degree by diagnostic analysis. Here's an overview of the treatment options available for NMIBC:
Transurethral Resection Of A Bladder Tumour
This procedure is similar to undergoing a cystoscopy, which involves having a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end of it inserted into your bladder through your urethra. It's carried out under general anaesthetic and your surgeon uses the camera to locate small cancerous tumours on the lining of your bladder. The tumours are cut off with a small laser, and any debris from the procedure will pass through a temporarily sited urinary catheter.
Chemotherapy for bladder cancer involves having the activated liquid inserted into your bladder through a catheter. After a short period of time, the catheter is reinserted to allow the liquid to drain out of your bladder. You'll have a few doses of chemotherapy, and your doctor will then follow up with you at regular intervals to check the health of your bladder using a cystoscope. Chemotherapy residue can make urinating painful for a short period of time after each treatment session, and this residue can also cause irritation for your partner during sexual intercourse, so it's advisable to use barrier contraception while undergoing chemotherapy.
A cystectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your bladder. You have two main options for rerouting your urine after bladder removal. Firstly, your doctor may recommend a procedure known as neobladder reconstruction, which involves using a proximal section of small intestine to create a pouch that functions as a new bladder. You should be able to remain continent after this procedure.
The second option is to have a urostomy created. This involves the ureter, which connects the kidneys to the bladder, being altered and diverted through a surgically created opening in your abdomen. Urine passes out through this opening and is collected in an ostomy bag. The bag can be opened and drained when it fills up, and you'll receive support from a specialist nurse as you adjust to life with a urostomy.
If you've been diagnosed with NMIBC, your doctor will discuss these treatment options with you in greater detail. However, this overview will hopefully help you understand what lies ahead and allow you to consider what questions you may wish to ask before you move forward with treatment. To learn more about bladder cancer treatment, speak to a professional.