St. Elizabeth'sServices and Clinical Centers

Treating Bladder Cancer

Most experienced center in New England performing robotic-assisted procedures for bladder cancer

At the Bladder Cancer Center, surgeons use a less invasive approach for the treatment of bladder cancer by using the da Vinci® Cystectomy Surgical System. A robotic-assisted radical cystectomy uses state-of-the-art technology to help your doctor perform a precise operation through a few tiny incisions with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.

By using of the da Vinci® Cystectomy robotic surgical system, our center is offering better outcomes for the treatment of bladder cancer for patients of all ages, especially those over the age of 75. These patients now have access to curative treatments they didn’t have access to before. 

The benefits of having a robotic-assisted radical cystectomy may include:

  • Lower risk of major complications 
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less blood loss and fewer transfusions
  • Faster recovery
  • Less pain and scarring
  • A quicker return to a normal diet
  • Quicker recovery of bowel function

There are two other types of standard surgical treatments used for bladder cancer, which include:

  • Transurethral resection (TUR) with fulguration: Surgery in which a cystoscope (a thin lighted tube) is inserted into the bladder through the urethra. A tool with a small wire loop on the end is then used to remove the cancer or to burn the tumor away with high-energy electricity. This is known as fulguration.
  • Partial cystectomy: Surgery to remove part of the bladder. This surgery may be done for patients who have a tumor that is limited to one area of the bladder. Because only a part of the bladder is removed, patients are able to urinate normally after recovering from this surgery. This is also called segmental cystectomy.
Learn more about what’s involved with a robotic-assisted radical cystectomy.

Other types of treatments


To treat bladder cancer, chemotherapy can be administered before surgery or after surgery. The standard of care for advanced bladder cancer is a combination of chemotherapy drugs.

Many patients with invasive bladder cancer receive chemotherapy before surgery to help prevent a recurrence of cancer by treating cancer cells that may have spread to other organs even before surgery. Large clinical studies have shown that giving chemotherapy before surgery improves long-term survival. On the other hand, some patients who do not receive chemotherapy before surgery may benefit from receiving it afterward. This depends on the extent of the cancer in the bladder and whether it has spread to the surrounding lymph nodes.

Our Hematology Oncology Outpatient Center is affiliated with Dana-Farber Community Cancer Care and patients with bladder cancer have access to the latest clinical trials and research available.

Learn more about the treatment options by stage of bladder cancer.



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What is Bladder Cancer?

Bladder cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the bladder. Read more about bladder cancer...

Treatment Guide

Download a free robotic-assisted radical cystectomy treatment guide to help you become a more informed patient.

Our Services

We provide patients with a multitude of services and high quality care for the management and treatment of bladder cancer. Read more about our services...

Our Team

Every patient meets with our multidisciplinary team of expert specialists. Read more about the team...

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