Bladder Cancer/Urothelial Cancer

Northwestern Medicine physicians and medical and radiation oncologists work together to treat bladder cancer. Treatments include advanced laparoscopic and robotic surgical techniques.

The Department of Urology is also participating in several clinical trials to test the efficacy of new therapies and technologies for bladder cancer and to find ways to improve quality of life.

What is Bladder (Urothelial) Cancer?

The main function of the bladder is to hold urine until we are ready to urinate. As the conduit of urine from the kidneys, the urinary tract is exposed to carcinogens that are processed by the body.

Most bladder cancers form from the lining of the bladder (80%), ureter/renal pelvis (10%), or urethra (10%). Urinary tract cancers are the fourth most common cancers in men and sixth most common overall.

Men are four times more likely to develop bladder cancer. Women with bladder cancer have the same symptoms as men. However, they are more likely to have aggressive forms of bladder cancer. Most bladder cancers can be treated with scopes and other treatments placed into the bladder. More aggressive forms of bladder cancer are treated with bladder removal, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.