Bladder Cancer Treatment in India

Last Modified: December 3, 2019  |   Created on: June 7, 2019
Cancer Treatment, Urology

Bladder is a muscular, balloon shaped and hollow organ, and is located in the pelvic region. It stores urine made by the kidneys, until it passes through the urethra and leaves the body. Bladder cancer refers to the malignant growths/tumors in the tissues of the urinary bladder. 

Most common type of bladder cancer is the one that begins in cells of inner lining of the bladder (transitional cell carcinoma). The other types include squamous cell carcinoma, in which the cancer occurs in the thin, flat cells lining the inside of the bladder, and adenocarcinoma, the cancer begins in the cells that release mucus. 

The bladder cancer treatment in India is provided at a very affordable cost with high quality medical facilities and best results. Lately, India has emerged a popular destination for medical tourism for patients all around the globe, who are looking for treatment by the world renowned doctors at highly accredited hospitals in India.

Bladder Cancer Treatment Cost In India

Cost of Treatment India
Chemotherapy Starting from $300 (per session)
Surgery Starting from $3,000
Radiation Therapy Starting from $3,500

The bladder cancer treatment in India is available at a very reasonable and affordable range. This has made India one of the most preferred and popular destinations around the globe, to avail the best facilities for your treatment.
In India, several options are available for the treatment and the cost of bladder cancer treatment varies depending on the treatment procedure one is opting. 

The cost is affected by factors like the chosen hospital, specialists involved, the experience of the doctor, drugs involved, post-treatment care and support systems.

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Bladder Cancer Symptoms

  • Blood in urine (hematuria): this is the most common symptom and usually the first warning sign of cancer. It is generally painless and urine may appear light pink, brown or red (rarely) depending on the amount of blood in urine. The blood is at times not noticeable and urine may seem to be clear but small amounts of blood may be found in urinalysis (urine test). The blood may also disappear for weeks after initial sighting.
  • Changes in urinary pattern: Frequent urination (more than usual), burning sensation or irritation while urinating, sudden urges to urinate even when the bladder is not full.

These are the symptoms for early stages of bladder cancer and may overlap with symptoms for other conditions like urinary tract infection, bladder stones, and kidney stones or enlarged prostate in men. However, one must visit the doctor for a check-up in any case.

Symptoms of Advanced stages

  • Pelvic pain
  • Being unable to urinate
  • Swelling in the feet
  • Bone pain
  • Unintentional weight loss

What are the Risk factors for Bladder Cancer?

There are several factors which increase a person’s likelihood of developing bladder cancer.

  • Age: The likelihood of bladder cancer increases with age. Around 90% of people diagnosed are older than 55 years of age.
  • One of the major risk factor is Smoking. People, who smoke, are at least 4 times more likely to get bladder cancer than non-smokers. Tobacco contains carcinogenic agents (cancer causing) and is responsible for half of all bladder cancers.
  • Gender: Bladder cancer is three to four times more likely to happen in men than women. 
  • Genetic and family history: People with family members with bladder cancer are more at risk of developing bladder cancer. Changes in the genes, like GST and NAT which are responsible for breakdown of certain toxins, are also associated with risk of bladder cancer. 
  • Chronic bladder infection: Long-term Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), kidney and bladder stones, having bladder catheters for a long time, are also linked with development of bladder cancer. Untreated infection known as schistosomiasis, caused by a parasitic worm getting into the bladder (mainly in Africa and Middle East), is also a risk factor.   
  • Arsenic in drinking water has also been linked with higher risk of bladder cancer. The chance of arsenic exposure depends on the place of your residence and source of your drinking water. 
  • Exposure to certain chemicals is the second largest risk factor for blood cancer. Certain industrial chemicals like the ones used in dyes, textile, paint, leather tanning or print industries, increases the risk of getting bladder cancer. Some naturally occurring chemicals, aromatic amines, and herbal supplements containing aristolochic acid, have also been linked to bladder cancer. 
  • Secondary disease due to Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy: Treatment with chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide for a long time can irritate the bladder. People who have been treated with this medicine are at higher risk of getting bladder cancer. 
  • People exposed to radiation near pelvic region, during therapy for treatment of cancers such as bowel cancer, are also at higher risk of developing bladder cancer.

Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer

Several tests and procedures are used to examine urine and bladder in the individual showing symptoms for bladder cancer. These diagnostic tests include: 

  • Urinalysis: A simple test done to check for blood and other substances in the urine sample. This test uses chemical dipstick that changes colour in the presence of certain compounds like glucose, red blood cells (RBCs) etc. 
  • Urine cytology: For this test, a sample of urine is analyzed under a microscope to look for pre-cancer or cancer cells.  
  • Cystoscopy: For this procedure, the urologist passes a cystoscope through the opening of the urethra and into the bladder to examine the inner lining of the bladder. A cystoscope is a thin tube with a lens and a camera attached to it. Usually, the patient is given a local anaesthetic gel, which is applied to the urethra, to make the procedure painless and comfortable.  
  • Biopsy: If abnormalities are detected during cystoscopy, the patient will be offered a biopsy procedure called transurethral resection of a Bladder Tumor (TURBT). This involves the removal of abnormal area (tumour), which is then tested for cancer. Sometimes cancer seems to develop in more than one area and therefore, more than one sample is taken for testing along with some surrounding bladder muscles to check whether cancer has spread. 
  • Imaging scans: These scans allow the specialist to have a more detailed picture of the bladder to examine if cancer has spread to the structures nearby the bladder, urinary tract, nearby lymph nodes or other organs. These imaging tests include: 
    • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP): an X-ray test that uses a dye to highlight the kidneys, ureters, and bladder and help show urinary tract tumours.  
    • CT scan
    • MRI
    • Ultrasound
    • Bone scan (to check for spread to the bone)

These tests also help the specialist to analyze the stage and extent of spread of the cancer

How can Lyfboat assist you getting treatment for Bladder Cancer in India?

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Bladder Cancer Stages

  • Stage 0: Earliest stage in which the cancer occurs in the tissues of inner lining of bladder. This is a non-invasive stage where the cancer has not invaded the bladder muscles or lymph nodes and other organs yet. This stage is further categorized into:
    • Stage 0-a: This stage cancer is known as non-invasive papillary carcinoma. The cancer grows like small mushroom from the inner lining towards the hollow centre of the bladder. 
    • Stage 0-b: At this stage, cancer appears as flat growing on the inner lining of bladder only and has not grown towards the centre hollow part of the bladder, and is known as carcinoma in situ (CIS).
  • Stage 1: This stage is marked by the spread of cancer to the connective tissue close to the lining of bladder.
  • Stage 2: The cancer has spread through the inner or outer layer of bladder muscles, but has not reached the layer of fatty tissues surrounding the bladder.
  • Stage 3: At this stage, the cancer has grown completely through the connective tissues and into the layer of fatty tissue surrounding the bladder.
    It might also have spread to the reproductive organs including vagina, prostate, seminal vesicles or uterus.
  • Stage 4: This is the advanced stage where cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and other organs such as lungs, liver or bones.

Treatment Options for Bladder Cancer in India

Several treatment options are available for bladder cancer in India depending on the stage, and other factors like patient’s health and preference.

Surgery:

It involves the removal of cancer and surrounding tissues during operation. There are different types of surgery available depending on the stage and extent of cancer. Surgery options for bladder cancer include:

  • Trans-Urethral Bladder Tumor Resection (TURBT): This procedure is used for diagnosing as well as treatment. During this surgery, a cytoscope (a narrow tube with a light and camera) is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. A small wire loop is attached to the end of cytoscope and is used to remove the abnormal tissues or burn the tumour with laser or high-energy electricity (fulgation). For TURBT, the patient is put under local anaesthesia. This is the most common treatment option for early-stage non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.
  • Cystectomy: Removal of all or part of the bladder. This is performed when the cancer is invasive. It is of following types:
    • Radial cystectomy: This surgery involves the removal of the entire bladder and nearby lymph nodes. This procedure is done when the cancer is large and has invaded the muscle wall. In men, prostate and seminal vesicles are the nearby organs that are removed during this procedure. While in women, the organs that are removed are a uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and part of the vagina. The surgeon then creates another way for passage of urine from the body.
    • Partial cystectomy: Also known as a segmental cystectomy. Only a part of the bladder is removed along with the portion of the muscle layer that cancer has invaded. The main advantage of this surgery is that the patient gets to keep the bladder and can urinate normally after recovering from the operation.
    • Laparoscopic cystectomy may be chosen by the surgeon, in which case, a small incision is made instead of a large one, and a tiny camera attached to one end of the instrument is used to see inside the pelvis. This is a minimally invasive surgery to remove the bladder and is performed by a surgeon who is experienced in this kind of operation.
  • Urinary Diversion: Reconstructive surgery to create an alternative way to store and pass urine. Several types of surgeries can be performed depending on the medical situation and the patient’s preference. The three types are:
    • Incontinent Diversion: For this, the surgeon removes a part of the intestine and connects it to ureters to create a passageway for urine to pass from the body. So, the urine flows through this passageway from the kidneys to outside of the body from an opening, called stoma, in the skin in front of the abdomen. The urine comes out continuously in small amounts and gets collected in a small bag placed over the stoma. In this procedure, there is no control over the flow of urine.
    • Continent Diversion: In this approach, part of the small or large intestine is used to make a pouch which acts as urinary reservoir inside the body and one end of the pouch is attached to the stoma. A valve is created in the pouch which allows urine to be stored. This method is preferred by the patient as there is no need for a bag outside the body. Urine can be drained out by putting a catheter into the stoma.
  • Neobladder: This is a newer method, in which the surgeon creates a new bladder (neobladder) from the piece of intestine and is attached to the urethra. This method routes the urine back into the urethra, thereby restoring urination. So the patient can pass out the urine normally.

Chemotherapy:

This therapy involves the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells by stopping their ability to divide and grow. The therapy can be done with one anticancer drug or combination of different drugs at the same time (combination drug). Chemotherapy for bladder cancer is of two types:

  • Intravesical chemotherapy: This treatment is for early stages of cancer and the chemo drug is administered directly into the bladder.
  • Systemic chemotherapy: For this treatment, the drugs are given as a pill or injected into the vein, or muscle, through which it enters into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.

Radiation Therapy:

This involves the use of high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and stop them from growing. There are two types of radiotherapy:

  • External-beam radiation: This is the most common type of radiation therapy, in which the machine outside the body is used to direct radiation precisely towards cancer.
  • Internal-beam radiation/Brachytherapy: This therapy uses radioactive implants like needles, seeds, or catheters that can be placed near or directly into cancer.
  • Radiation therapy, alone, or in combination with chemotherapy, is usually used after surgery (TURBT) to destroy any remaining cancer cells or as part of preliminary treatment for advanced stage cancer or to relieve symptoms caused by advanced bladder cancer like pain and bleeding.

Immunotherapy:

Also known as Biological therapy. This therapy involves the use of medicine to boost a person’s immune system to help it recognize and fight against the cancer cells. It involves the use of substances produced by the body or in a laboratory to improve or target the immune system or restore function. BCG vaccine is one of the examples of biological agents used in immunotherapy after TURBT procedure. Other drugs that are used are Atezolizumab, avelumab, nivolumab, etc. The drugs used are given as intravenous (IV) infusions, every 2 to 3 weeks.

Bladder Cancer Treatment Side Effects

Risks And Side Effects Of Surgery 

  • Reaction to anaesthesia 
  • Infection at the surgery site, 
  • Blood clots in the leg or lungs,
  • Some bleeding and pain during urination after surgery, 
  • Effects on urination include – urine leaks, infection, blockage of urine flow, pouch stones, 
  • Repeated TURBT procedures can scar the bladder and results in loss of its capacity to hold urine, 
  • Increased risk of erectile dysfunction in men after the surgery
    The side effects usually last for the duration of treatment and go away after the therapy is finished. A wider range of side effects is experienced by the patient if the drug is injected into the bloodstream rather than when it is injected directly to the bladder.

Side Effects Of Chemotherapy

  • Loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting, 
  • Hair loss, 
  • Mouth sores, 
  • Decreased White Blood Cell count leading to increased risk of infection, 
  • Shortage of blood platelets causing bruises even after minor injuries, 
  • Some drugs can cause peripheral neuropathy which involves damage to nerves, resulting in fatigue and weakness, along with pain, swelling or burning sensation in hands and feet.

Side Effects of Radiotherapy 

  • Diarrhoea, 
  • Nausea and vomiting, 
  • Inflammation of the bladder, 
  • Tightening of the vagina in women and erectile dysfunction in men, 
  • Bladder problems, such as difficulty in passing urine, blood in the urine, 
  • Decreased blood count resulting in fatigues, weakness, easy bruising or bleeding, 
  • These side effects usually subside after the treatment; however, rarely, in some cases, these can the long term effects.

Common Side Effects Of Immunotherapy

  • Nausea and vomiting, 
  • Fatigue, 
  • Urinary tract infection, 
  • Diarrhoea and constipation, 
  • Less often, serious problems can occur if the immune system starts attacking other organs due to the boost given to the immune system.

List of Top Hospitals for Bladder Cancer Treatment in India

India is a proud home to eminent cancer hospitals, providing premium healthcare services to all categories of patients. The top hospitals in India are endowed with first-class infrastructure and latest innovations, which are used to diagnose and treat the patients with high accuracy and success.
The most up-to-date technologies and high standard of care provided at a very reasonable cost of treatment, by the Best Bladder Cancer Treatment Hospitals in India, are the factors that make India an appealing destination for foreign patients to travel for treatment
The hospitals for bladder cancer treatment in India are well equipped with advanced medical technologies and machines. The well established Department of Urology and Oncology in these hospitals comprise of a highly accomplished team of doctors, who are capable of conducting all kinds of medical procedures starting from conventional open surgeries to laparoscopic and robotic surgeries. Robotic surgery is proving to be a revolutionary technique, offering better outcomes in terms of faster recovery, lower complication chances, and lesser pain and bleeding.

List of Top Doctors for Bladder Cancer Treatment in India

A multidisciplinary team of specialists including oncologists, urologists, radiologists, pathologists, and many more, are involved in providing the best treatment. The best bladder cancer treatment doctors in India are highly reputed and sought-after on a global level
The top doctors for bladder cancer treatment are highly trained and up-to-date with all the new age techniques of treatment. Their experience and commitment to medical excellence keep them on the top of the list of renowned doctors of the world. The doctors maintain their competence by constantly updating their knowledge, skills and professional performance through Continuous Medical Education (CME) credits. So, they are known to take part in activities like attending medical conferences, case discussions, seminars, workshops as well as participate in researches and clinical trials to contribute towards scientific advancements.

Happy Lyfboat Patients

Last Modified: December 3, 2019  |   Created on: June 7, 2019
Cancer Treatment, Urology
Vanshika Rawat

Written By Vanshika Rawat

Vanshika Rawat is an experienced content developer. She is well-versed and knowledgeable in topics of science and medicine, and has worked under brilliant scientist during her higher education. She has obtained her degrees in Masters and Bachelors in Science - Microbiology (with Hons. ) from renowned institutions - Panjab University and University of Delhi.
Dr. Surbhi Suden

Verified By Dr. Surbhi Suden

Dr. Surbhi Suden is one of the founders of Lyfboat and a doctor with a renowned name in the Medical tourism industry. She has been working with international patients since 2008 and is a deeply committed professional with a long term vision of transforming the current healthcare scenarios.
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