What Is the Treatment for Bladder Lesions?

The human urinary tract, including the bladder in pink at the bottom.
A linear accelerator might be used to target cancerous bladder lesions radiation.
Cancerous bladder lesions are typically treated with chemotherapy.
A cutaway of a female body showing the bladder in dark pink.
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  • Written By: Jackie Myers
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2014
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Individuals with bladder lesions can choose from a variety of treatments. Noncancerous lesions can be cauterized. The four standard treatments for cancerous lesions include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, biologic therapy, and surgery. Treatments being tested in clinical trials include chemoprevention and photodynamic therapy. One of the surgical options is radical cystectomy, a procedure that involves removing the bladder, lymph nodes, and any nearby organs that are cancerous.

It is possible to eliminate a bladder lesion by burning it off. This technique is called fulguration of the bladder. Doctors use tools such as an electrocautery or laser to perform this procedure. Fulguration may be used in cases of interstitial cystitis and in patients that have Hunner's ulcers. Patients undergoing this procedure are given general or spinal anesthesia.

Cancerous bladder lesions can be treated with chemotherapy. This form of treatment kills the cancer cells and stops them from dividing. Patients can receive chemotherapy orally or have it injected into a muscle or vein. It is common for patients with bladder tumors to receive the chemotherapy through a tube inserted into their urethra. When the drug enters the bloodstream, it can reach the cancerous cells.

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Radiation therapy involves using high energy x-rays to destroy cancerous cells. Patients with cancerous bladder lesions can receive either external or internal radiation therapy. For external radiation therapy, a machine is placed near the body and directs radiation towards the bladder cancer. Internal radiation therapy is administered by inserting a radioactive substance directly into the lesion or in tissue that is nearby.

Photodynamic therapy can also be used to kill cancerous cells. It involves using a drug that is only activated when exposed to light. The patient receives the medication intravenously (IV). Once the drug enters into the body it remains in the cancerous cells longer than in normal cells. When the drugs are activated by a specific type of light, the cancer cells die.

Some cancer patients may be interested in clinical trials to treat their bladder lesions. These trials play a pivotal role in cancer research, testing new cancer treatments to determine safety and effectiveness. Those who participate, help to improve the way cancer is treated in the future.

Surgery is an option for those with early-stage or invasive bladder cancer. In early-stage cancer, a segmental cystectomy can be performed. A surgeon will remove only the portion of the bladder that contains the bladder lesions. If the cancer has invaded the deepest layers of the bladder wall, surgery to remove the entire bladder may be necessary. Those undergoing surgery as a treatment option risk infection and bleeding.

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anon342506
Post 5

I have just been advised that I have a couple of lesions on the wall of my bladder and that I should expect a letter in a couple of weeks giving me a date to enter the hospital to have it removed. Any advice? --Jomac.

anon308295
Post 4

I just left the hospital. I was there because of blood in my urine. I had lesions on my bladder that hve been sent for biopsy. At the same time, my prostate was scraped?

I feel fine now that I have no more blood clots coming through my urethra. That was an adventure! -- Larry B., Ontario

burcidi
Post 3

@anamur-- I have interstital cystitis lesions in my bladder and my doctor has given me three options for treating them. I can either have them burned off with laser, I can have them cut out (ouch!) or I can get a steroid injection.

I'm undecided between the laser and the steroid injection. The injection is fairly new and doctors are still trying to learn about how well it works. But it's supposed to treat bleeding, inflammation and bladder pain just like the other two treatments.

So if you don't want to have it burned off, you could get the injection but they're still going to have to open you up for it. If you're trying to avoid surgery, it's kind of unavoidable for noncancerous lesion treatments.

candyquilt
Post 2

@anamur-- Yes, I had a couple that were laser burned a couple of years ago.

Even though the lesions might not be cancerous now, they do carry the risk of mutating into cancerous cells. So burning them off is part of bladder cancer prevention.

Plus, lesions often cause bleeding and other problems in the bladder as was the case with me. I often would get tested positive with blood in my urine and further testing showed I had lesions. The bleeding stopped after they were burned off.

It's a pretty easy procedure and I think you should have it done. It'll put your mind at ease and prevent and treat any side effects.

serenesurface
Post 1

If a bladder lesion is noncancerous, can it just be left alone?

My doctor found a lesion in my bladder during a surgery I had to have kidney stones removed. It has been biopsied and is non-cancerous. My doctor wants me to go in for another surgery to burn it off.

I don't feel ready for another surgery and since the lesion is non-cancerous, I don't understand why I can't leave it alone. I do have some pain but I think that it has to do with kidney stones that were removed and not the lesion in my bladder.

Has anyone else had a noncancerous bladder lesion? Did you have it burned off? What was that like?

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