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Bladder Cancer

Screening and Diagnosis | Personalized Treatment | Research and Clinical Trials | Additional Patient Support

The experienced, collaborative team of specialists at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center combines the most advanced scientific knowledge and technology with a comprehensive and compassionate approach to care, creating a program of technology with a comprehensive and compassionate approach to care. Our patient-centered care focuses on personalizing bladder cancer treatment options to best suit each individual patient.

Drawing from the diverse experience of physicians, surgeons, nurses, researchers and a host of other highly trained healthcare professionals, the Kellogg Cancer Center team works collaboratively and is dedicated to putting patients—and families—at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, quality care.

For patients diagnosed with bladder cancer, the Kellogg Cancer Cancer offers centralized access and treatment options to best meet a patient's unique needs. NorthShore urologists are among the most experienced in the Chicago area at performing minimally-invasive bladder cancer surgery. Research has shown that significant experience is more likely to result in better outcomes for patients. Physicians at the Kellogg Cancer Center collaborate with colleagues at the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health when appropriate.

Bladder Cancer Screening and Diagnosis

NorthShore’s Kellogg Cancer Center’s emphasis on early detection leads to diagnosing a greater proportion of patients with bladder cancer—the second most common form of urological cancer—at earlier stages. When the diagnosis shows the cancer in early stages and it is treated right away, as often happens with bladder cancer, the chances for survival are very good.

Bladder cancer is diagnosed through an internal exam and screenings that may include a urinalysis, CT scans, or a cystoscopy (a procedure where a thin instrument with a light and lens to view the bladder is inserted through the urethra). Tissue samples may also be taken during a cystoscopy.

If a diagnosis is made, the physician will offer a bladder cancer prognosis based on the severity or stage of the cancer, including whether it has spread to other areas of the body.

Personalized Bladder Cancer Treatment

For bladder cancer treatment, Kellogg Cancer Center specialists are experts in creating options to maximize the patient's quality of life. These include a wide range of surgical options depending on stage, severity and prognosis, of a patient’s cancer, from the most aggressive to the lower stages where cancer has not spread beyond the bladder. For individual cases where the bladder must be removed, our urologists are able to offer patients several options, including creation of a neobladder or new bladder.This bladder cancer treatment option involves Kellogg's skilled urologists creating a bladder-like reservoir out of a piece of the patient’s intestine. The reservoir is housed inside the body and attached to the patient’s urethra, enabling the patient to urinate normally.

Following bladder cancer surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be recommended to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Sometimes a combination of chemotherapy and radiation may be prescribed. The patient-centered, multidisciplinary approach to care empowers each patient to make decisions based on their personal needs after being presented with their bladder cancer treatment options by our physicians.

Among the most promising developments in cancer treatment in recent years is immunotherapy. For decades, researchers have been trying to understand why the body’s immune system does not see cancer cells as foreign and attack them. Unlike chemotherapy, which attacks cancer cells, immunotherapy targets the patient’s immune system, spurring the body’s own immune function to unleash an attack on the disease. NorthShore has been an early adopter of immunotherapy, offering progressive treatment options to our patients and supporting ongoing clinical trials and research to further advance this revolutionary field.

Patients are at the center of this multidisciplinary team, and Kellogg staff arrange for them to be seen by their multidisciplinary specialists at one appointment, not only for their convenience but to provide a consensus on their course of treatment. Our use of one of the most advanced Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems in the country enhances our open communication and promotes collaboration in our patient care.

Research and Clinical Trials

For patients diagnosed with urologic cancers, a vital research enterprise allows Kellogg Cancer Center patients access to the latest drugs and treatment options, as well as a wide array of clinical trials, both at NorthShore and through the University of Chicago, where more than 800 of our attending physicians hold academic appointments. As an example, our physician-scientists are currently enrolled in a study of genetics testing for persons with bladder cancer. Kellogg Cancer Center’s experts in bladder cancer are active participants and leaders in regional and national research, academic and advocacy organizations.

NorthShore’s nationally recognized Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system offers a data warehouse that enables physicians and researchers to integrate molecular and genomics data with clinical data to determine a patient’s best course of treatment. This information—specific to each patient—helps create an individually tailored treatment plan based on the patient’s genetic makeup and type of cancer. This analysis is yielding new insights into complex diseases and identifying opportunities to improve patient outcomes,  as well as addressing the risk factors in individual and family medical histories.

NorthShore is the first in the nation to provide our patients and their family members with Health Heritage, a secure tool that helps individuals create a complete family health history and personalized risk reports.

Additional Patient Support

Kellogg Cancer Center’s unique services and resources assist patients and family members with a variety of challenges they may face from diagnosis, treatment and beyond. A wide array of support services are available to patients that include our integrative medicine services, financial advocacy and survivorship, to name a few.

For More Information

For more information on bladder cancer symptoms and treatment or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 847.570.2112.