Treatment for bladder cancer

Your treatment depends on several factors including the stage of your bladder cancer. So it is important you know what stage of cancer you have. The stage of your bladder cancer describes how far your cancer has spread. Your doctor might describe your bladder cancer as:

  • non muscle invasive bladder cancer - the cancer is only in the lining or the connective tissue beneath the bladder lining
  • muscle invasive bladder cancer - the cancer has grown into a deeper (muscle) layer of the bladder, or beyond
  • metastatic bladder cancer - the cancer has spread from the bladder to a distant part of your body 

Preparing for treatment and life afterwards (prehabilitation)

There are things you can do to help you feel more in control of your physical and mental health when preparing for treatment. In the hospital, preparing for treatment is also called prehabilitation or prehab.

Treatment for non muscle invasive bladder cancer

Non muscle invasive bladder cancer means the cancer cells are only in the bladder’s inner lining. You usually have surgery to remove the cancer followed by chemotherapy into the bladder.

Treatment for muscle invasive bladder cancer

Muscle invasive bladder cancer has spread into or through the muscle layer of the bladder. The main treatments include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Treatment for metastatic bladder cancer

There are different treatments for metastatic bladder cancer. These include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

Last reviewed: 
06 Oct 2022
Next review due: 
06 Oct 2025