Bladder Cancer

At OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, we have developed an aggressive approach to treating bladder cancer and offer all types of treatment. In Oregon, we treat the most patients with advanced bladder cancer and have a wealth of experience in managing these complex cancers.

About bladder cancer

In the United States, 60,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed every year. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men and the eighth leading cause of death from cancer. In women, bladder cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the 10th cause of cancer death.

Approximately 850 new cases of bladder cancer (24 cases per 100,000 people) are diagnosed in the state of Oregon each year. This rate is almost 20 percent higher than the U.S. average.

More about bladder cancer

Treatment options

Medical treatment

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer. In most cases, chemotherapy works by stopping cancer cells from growing or reproducing. Different drugs work in different ways to fight cancer. Your medical oncologist will recommend the best treatment plan for you. Studies have shown that chemotherapy after surgery can increase the survival rate for some patients with kidney cancer. Chemotherapy can also help relieve symptoms of advanced cancer.

Surgical services

Our doctors do more than 60 bladder removal surgeries each year, ranking in the top 10 institutions in the country for this operation. We also have extensive experience in reconstructing the urinary tract after surgery. We are currently using the most advanced MRI techniques to determine how far bladder cancer has spread. This helps our experts choose the best treatment for you. In addition to providing state-of-the-art surgical treatment, seeing a large number of patients gives us the chance to study bladder cancer and understand this condition better.

We also strongly believe in spending enough time with you and your family to talk about your cancer diagnosis and treatment options. We might use models and the your own X-rays to show where your disease is and discuss the best treatment to use to remove the cancer. Family support is very important when you are making decisions about treatment, and learning as much as possible about your treatment options and the expected results can help you and your family make the best decision for you.

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Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams that penetrate deep into the body to safely and effectively treat cancer and other diseases. This treatment can also be used to relieve symptoms, such as pain caused by cancer.

Radiation works by damaging cancer cells so that they cannot reproduce and eventually die. When cancer cells die, the body removes them naturally over time. Your body’s healthy cells are also sensitive to radiation. However, normal cells can repair radiation damage, while cancer cells cannot. 

Our team

At the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s bladder cancer clinic our doctors specialize in treating bladder cancer – they have dedicated their careers to fighting this disease. Our doctors and nurses meet weekly to discuss all of our patients, giving you the benefit of the entire team’s knowledge and expertise.

We strongly believe in a multidisciplinary care approach, which means surgeons work regularly with medical oncologists and pathologists  who have special expertise in bladder cancer. You benefit from the expertise of the entire team.

Urologic oncology clinic nurse

Karen Gates, R.N., C.U.R.N.
Mark Johnson, R.N.

Stoma therapist

Suzanne Hurtford, R.N.