Our Services

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men, and the eighth in women. Smoking is the leading cause of bladder cancer. Blood in the urine frequently is the first sign of such cancer, and testing involves urine studies, imaging of the kidneys and cystoscopy.

Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the body. These extra cells grow together and form masses, called tumors. In bladder cancer, these growths happen in the bladder.

Bladder cancer occurs when certain chemicals including cancer-causing agents called arylamines become concentrated in the urine and cause cells in the bladder to start growing out of control.

  • Almost all bladder cancers develop in cells of the inner layer of the bladder, which is in contact with urine.
  • Some can grow into the deeper bladder layers, then into the wall of the bladder, where they become harder to treat.
  • The most common sign of possible bladder cancer is blood in the urine.

What Happens?

Bladder cancer is an uncontrolled rapid growth of abnormal cells in the bladder. Cancer usually begins in the lining of the bladder. The cancerous cells may spread through the lining into the muscular wall of the bladder.

Invasive bladder cancer may spread to lymph nodes, other organs in the pelvis (causing problems with kidney and bowel function), or other organs in the body, such as the liver and lungs.

Your treatment will depend on how far the cancer has spread.

Most bladder cancer is found early, before it has spread into the bladder wall. Surgery can usually remove these tumors. But bladder cancer often comes back, so you may also get other treatments, such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy, to lower the chances of that happening.

Bladder cancer can usually be successfully treated if it is found and treated early. Fortunately most of them are found early.

Diagnosis and Cystoscopy

Wheeling Hospital is among approximately 75 U.S. hospitals to use a technology that significantly improves the ability to detect bladder cancer. The Cysview blue light cystoscopy is available through the hospital's Center for Urology.

Cystoscopy is a test that enables doctors to look at the inside of the bladder and urethra using a thin, lighted instrument called a cystoscope. Typical cystoscopes use a white light, while Cysview utilizes a blue light. The blue light technology allows urologists to detect lesions that may not be visible with the white light.

The photodynamic blue light system fluoresces the tumor cells. This advance in diagnostic technology enables a more accurate diagnosis of bladder tumors and a more complete treatment of those tumors during surgery. Cysview has been shown in multiple clinical trials to significantly improve tumor-free recurrence rates when compared to white light cystoscopy.

Treatment of bladder cancer means the Center for Urology works closely with Wheeling Hospital's Schiffler Cancer Center, internationally recognized for prostate cancer therapies and urologic care.

Dr. Gregory Merrick, director of the Schiffler Cancer Center, said, "Cysview has resulted in identification and treatment of bladder tumors at a stage significantly earlier than what was previously possible with white light. This has resulted in significant improvements in disease-free survival for patients with early stage bladder cancer."

Treatment for bladder cancer often involves a multi-disciplinary approach including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Although no single treatment approach is best suited for all patients, Wheeling Hospital's uro-oncology team has emphasized the role of bladder preservation in patients with locally advanced disease.


For more information, or to make an appointment at Wheeling Hospital's Center for Urology, call 304-243-3490. The center is located in the hospital's Schiffler Cancer Center, Tower 4.

More Information and Resources

For additional information on bladder cancer and Cysview, visit this Web site: https://www.cysview.com/.

For valuable support information on resources available to those with bladder cancer, visit the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network at: http://www.bcan.org/.

Wheeling Hospital Cancer Care

Wheeling Hospital Cancer Care

The Schiffler Cancer Center staff, including radiation oncologist Dr. Jondavid Pollock, offers participation in at least 50 clinical trials, combining the most advanced technical cancer services with a compassionate and empathic treatment environment.