Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is a malignant growth in cells that comprise the lining of the bladder. The bladder is an organ that stores urine and is located inside the lower part of the abdomen. More than 67,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

Treatment options

Depending on a patient's type and stage of bladder cancer, several treatments may be used in combination to increase the likelihood of a cure. Surgery is the preferred bladder cancer therapy and is performed in more than 90 percent of bladder cancer cases. For patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer, a radical cystectomy is the preferred form of treatment.

For some patients, the surgeon may not need to remove the entire bladder. Instead, removal of the tumor area alone or treatment with radiation and chemo therapy may be an option.


A cystectomy is the removal of all or part of the bladder and possibly the removal of nearby lymph nodes and organs that may contain cancer. If the bladder is removed, the surgeon perform a urinary diversion, which creates a new way to for the body to store and pass urine.

  • Traditionally, bladder removal surgery is performed using an open approach, which means a surgeon makes a large incision in the abdomen.
  • A second approach is laparoscopy, which is less invasive, but limits the doctor's dexterity, vision, and control, as compared to open surgery.
  • A third new minimally invasive robotic-assisted technique uses the da Vinci Surgical System.

Da Vinci cystectomy

If your doctor recommends surgery for your bladder cancer, you may be a candidate for a new, minimally invasive approach—da Vinci cystectomy.

Using the da Vinci Surgical System for bladder cancer incorporates the best techniques of open surgery and applies them to a robotic-assisted, minimally invasive approach. The precision and dexterity of this state-of-the-art technology, including a high-resolution, 3D picture of a patient's anatomy, allows your surgeon to perform a more precise operation than conventional surgery.

For most patients, benefits of da Vinci surgery for bladder cancer include:

  • Less blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • Significantly less pain
  • Fewer complications
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • A faster return to normal daily activities
  • Better clinical outcomes in many cases
All surgical procedures are both patient- and procedure-specific. While surgery using the da Vinci cystectomy is considered safe and effective, this procedure may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as the risks and benefits.