Bladder cancer occurs when there are abnormal, cancerous cells growing in the bladder. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 70,980 cases of bladder cancer will be diagnosed in the US in 2009.
Bladder cancer affects men about three times more often than women, and it occurs in Caucasians twice as often as in African Americans. The risk of bladder cancer increases with age - over 70 percent of people who are diagnosed with it are older than 65.
Bladder Cancer Treatment
The urological cancer team at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine is one of the most experienced in the world in performing nerve-sparing bladder removal (using open and laparoscopic approaches and robotic assistance) and creating neobladders, replacement bladders made out of intestinal tissue. Instead of creating an opening to the skin to divert urine, the surgeon places the new bladder where the cancerous bladder was removed. This surgical technique allows both men and women to achieve nearly normal continence. Men who have nerve-sparing bladder removal and a neobladder can continue to have normal erections and urinate through their penis. Women also experience more comfortable sexual intercourse with a neobladder.
We are pioneering the use of robotic surgery for bladder cancer. We are the only group in the area to offer this ground breaking approach. We maintain high cure rates while decreasing the pain of surgery by using the robot through a small incision.
Medical oncologists at Siteman currently are investigating a series of new anti-cancer drugs that can be placed in the bladder, either in combination with standard medications or alone.