Cancer is complex — there is no routine bladder cancer, nor is there ever a routine way to treat it.

The OSUCCC – James physicians are nationally and internationally renowned in research and patient care for their particular cancer. Because of that expertise and understanding of cancer’s complexities and how it acts and reacts differently in each person, the very best outcomes — and the most effective means of treating cancer patients — come from a team approach.

At the OSUCCC – James, bladder cancer patients have a team of experts that includes medical oncologists, urologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, geneticists, nutritionists and more. Also on that team are bladder cancer researchers who help sequence tumors to identify key molecules that fuel each patient’s cancer and who then develop drugs that target only those particular molecules. Many of our experts also help write the national clinical guidelines for treatments.

As one of only a few cancer centers in the country funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to more clinical trials than nearly any other cancer hospital in the country and to more of the latest, most targeted, most effective treatment options — many that are available nowhere else but at the OSUCCC – James.

There are several types of treatment for bladder cancer. The OSUCCC – James team of subspecialists determine the best treatment for each patient based on his or her specific, individual bladder cancer. Patients may receive one treatment or a combination of treatments.

Treatment Options

The OSUCCC – James is a leader in offering some of the world’s most advanced, sophisticated treatments for bladder cancer patients.

Every person’s disease is different, with individually unique genes and molecules driving that disorder. At the OSUCCC – James, our bladder cancer subspecialists are world-renowned experts who focus solely on bladder disorders and who reach across medical disciplines (medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, urologic oncologists, pathologists, bladder cancer researchers, genomic experts and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific cancer.

One or more of the following treatments may be recommended:


The OSUCCC – James bladder cancer experts may perform one of the following surgeries to treat your bladder cancer:

Transurethral Resection with Fulguration

In this surgery, an OSUCCC – James bladder cancer subspecialist will use a cytoscope, which is a thin tube with a light on the end, to remove any cancerous tissue from the bladder. A specialized tool on the end of the cytoscope can remove the tumor with an electrical charge. This process is known as fulguration.


In this surgery, your OSUCCC – James bladder cancer subspecialist removes all or part of the bladder as well as any surrounding tissues that may be affected. The surgeon may perform a partial or a radical cystectomy. A radical cystectomy is used only when the cancer has invaded the bladder's muscle wall.

If the bladder is removed, the surgeon will create another way for urine to leave the body.

Urinary Diversion

This is a type of reconstructive surgery in which the OSUCCC – James bladder cancer subspecialist makes a new way for the patient to store and eliminate urine.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays targeted directly at the cancer cells to destroy the cancer cells or keep them from growing. Radiation therapy is usually chosen to treat bladder cancer if the disease is confined in the bladder or the bladder region.

A patient with bladder cancer may receive radiation therapy before or after a surgery to remove a tumor. Radiation can shrink a tumor to make surgery more successful.

The OSUCCC – James radiation experts are leaders in innovative radiation treatments, and The James is one of the few hospitals in Ohio to offer radiation treatments in the prone position (the patient is lying down).  

The OSUCCC – James also offers other leading-edge radiation treatments, including imaging-based radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery and using a Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator.


Chemotherapy drugs stop cancer cell growth by either by destroying the cells or stopping them from dividing and forming new cells.

When chemotherapy is given before surgery, it can shrink a tumor. After surgery, it can lower risk that the bladder cancer will return.

Chemotherapy drugs can be taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, and they may be given over a period of months.

When the drugs enter the bloodstream, they can reach cancer cells throughout the body (called systemic chemotherapy). Combination chemotherapy uses more than one anti-cancer drug.

Chemotherapy treatment usually takes place in an outpatient part of the hospital, at your doctor's office or in your home. Some people may need to stay in the hospital for treatment.


Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, uses the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer.

One type of immunotherapy used to treat early stage bladder cancer involves placing a germ called Bacillus Calmette-Guérin directly into the bladder via a catheter. The body responds by attacking the bacterium with healthy immune cells, in which helps destroy bladder cancer cells.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Bladder Cancer Research & Clinical Trials

For cancer patients, clinical trials mean hope. Hope for a cancer-free world and for better, more targeted ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure individual cancers. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James has more than 500 open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more cancer clinical trials here than at nearly any other hospital in the region as well as access to some of the most advanced, targeted treatments and drugs available.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only a few U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. These trials go only to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results.

Additionally, Ohio State has nearly 300 cancer researchers dedicated to understanding what makes each patient’s cancer grow, move, metastasize or reoccur. Because of the OSUCCC – James’ NCI phase I and phase II approvals, these experts can move research discoveries into clinical trials and make them available to patients sooner.

Who Should Participate in a Clinical Trial

For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only a few institutions funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase 1 and 2 clinical trials on NCI–sponsored anticancer drugs.

If you’ve been diagnosed with bladder cancer, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a bladder cancer specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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