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Bladder cancer

Bladder cancer develops in the bladder and can affect different types of bladder cells. The bladder is a muscular organ that is described as ‘balloon-like’ that sits in the pelvic area and collects and stores urine.

There is a type of bladder cancer that accounts for 90% of all bladder cases, this is called transitional cell bladder cancer. It is also referred to as urothelial bladder cancer. There are rarer types of bladder cancer that include squamous cell bladder cancer, adenocarcinoma, sarcoma and small cell bladder cancer.

Rutherford Treatment Options

  • Proton Beam Therapy Available
  • Radiotherapy Available
  • Chemotherapy Available
  • Immunotherapy Available

Types of bladder cancer


Urothelial bladder cancer accounts for 90% of all bladder cases and is the most common type of bladder cancer. It is also referred to as transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). This type of cancer starts in cells in the lining of the bladder.

 Non-muscle invasive

This type of cancer is when the cancer cells are only in the inner lining of the bladder and haven’t spread into the muscle layer. 

 Muscle invasive

In muscle-invasive bladder cancer, the cancer has spread into or through the muscle layer of the bladder.

 Advanced bladder cancer

Advanced bladder cancer is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

 Rare types of bladder cancer:

  • squamous cell cancer
  • adenocarcinoma
  • small cell bladder cancer.

These rare types of bladder cancer start from different types of cells in the bladder lining and are usually muscle-invasive.


  • Blood in urine
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or back


If you’d like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer
please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

Bladder cancer diagnosis

A diagnosis for bladder cancer is made through various scans, blood tests and urine tests, all of which will help confirm details of the size, location and spread of the cancer. If your GP thinks you are experiencing symptoms as a result of bladder cancer, they may send you to a specialist for further investigation.

Most common ways bladder cancer can be diagnosed:

  • Blood test
  • Urine test 
  • Cystoscopy
  • CT/MRI/ultrasounds/PET-CT scans


MRI Diagnosis

Treating bladder cancer with proton beam therapy

Proton beam therapy can be an effective treatment choice for bladder cancer, as it aims to precisely deliver maximum radiation to the tumour or cancer cells while delivering minimal radiation dose to surrounding healthy tissues and organs that should be avoided. It will depend on where the cancer cells have occurred within the bladder, to determine if proton beam therapy is a suitable treatment. An oncologist will discuss this with you, factors they will look at include if the cancer is within the lining of the bladder, if it has spread to the surrounding muscle layers and other areas of the body. 

The benefits of using proton beam therapy treatment for bladder cancer

Proton beam therapy can help reduce radiation dose to the sensitive areas surrounding the bladder, such as the urethra, rectum and prostate (males only). It is often a choice of treatment for more advanced or muscle-invasive cancers, as it can help get cancer cells under control when combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy. Proton beam therapy may also be beneficial for reducing unwanted long-term side effects, that would otherwise occur with conventional radiotherapy, such as incontinence and radiation damage to the bowel.

An overview of how proton beam therapy works

Proton beam therapy is highly accurate in targeting a treatment area. It can be used to treat hard-to-reach tumours in the bladder, while lowering radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs.

Watch the video

Other treatment options for bladder cancer

There are other treatment options that can be used to treat bladder cancer, either before, after or alongside proton beam therapy. Please see other treatment options available at the Rutherford Cancer Centres below:







Further information & support

Being diagnosed with bladder cancer and deciding on the best treatment can be daunting, for full details on bladder treatment options or to discuss a diagnosis, please contact our enquiries team. Our enquiries team will endeavour to help you assess your treatment options and advise which consultants could be best placed to plan your treatment pathway.

Macmillan Cancer Support offers a wide range of information and support, as well as help with your practical, emotional, and financial needs. All telephone helplines are free and confidential, and interpreting services are also available.

Freephone: 0808 808 00 00

(Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 8.00pm)

Website: www.macmillan.org.uk



Get in Touch

If you'd like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

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