Bladder Cancer: Our Approach and Expertise

Columbia Urology experts are national leaders in the treatment of bladder cancer.   Our team closely monitors patients with superficial bladder cancer to catch the disease as soon as it recurs.  Our researchers have also done pioneering studies resulting in the discovery of new agents to prevent local recurrence.

A smaller percentage of patients have bladder cancer that is much more aggressive and likely to spread through the layers of the bladder wall, and if not eradicated, to other organs. Deciding on the best form of treatment for patients with invasive bladder cancer is a very complex process that is tailored to the individual. The Columbia Urology practice has a long track record treating patients with bladder cancer, and we offer patients care that is tailored to their disease and their individual preferences.

Our goal in treating patients with invasive bladder cancer is to preserve the bladder whenever possible—for as long as possible. In our practice we are able to preserve the bladders of most patients with aggressive cancer for some time, and many of these patients keep their bladders permanently.

Members of our surgical team are pioneers in bladder reconstruction techniques. To replace the bladder we can create a neobladder, an internal bladder made from a portion of the intestine, or a continent reservoir, an internal bladder storage reservoir that can be drained by passing a small tube through an opening in the abdomen.

If patients do need surgery to remove part or all of the bladder, we have the expertise to perform this procedure in a minimally invasive manner. Surgeons are often able to perform cystectomies using the da Vinci robotic surgery system, which provides a highly magnified view of the surgical field. This approach gives the surgeon unsurpassed surgical dexterity and precise control of the miniaturized surgical instruments. As with other minimally invasive procedures, patients benefit with shorter hospital stays, less pain, less blood loss, smaller incisions, and a quicker return to normal activities. 

Our surgeons also work closely with Columbia University Medical Center's radiation and oncology experts in treating this disease.