Last week we reported on the success of a major bladder cancer trial, funded by Cancer Research UK.
The practice-changing trial will mean that, in future, fewer of the thousands of patients diagnosed with the disease each year will need their bladder removed, and, in some cases, their womb and ovaries or prostate and urethra too (since these are the areas where the cancer is most likely to return).
Removing the bladder is a major operation with implications for the rest of a patient’s life. As the disease is linked to smoking and around eight out of ten cases diagnosed in patients over 65, some patients are in relatively poor general health when diagnosed and so unable to cope with such radical surgery.
Until recently the only alternative has been radiotherapy. But around a third of patients given radiotherapy eventually relapse with invasive disease and so need to have their bladder removed anyway.
To try to improve things, researchers based at the University of Birmingham and The Institute for Cancer Research in Sutton, funded by Cancer Research UK, have been looking for better alternatives.