Doctors are working to learn more about bladder cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials . Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan . A PET scan is a way to create pictures of organs and tissues inside the body. A small amount of a radioactive substance is injected into a patient’s body. This substance is absorbed mainly by organs and tissues that use the most energy. Because cancer tends to use energy actively, it absorbs more of the radioactive substance. A scanner then detects this substance to produce images of the inside of the body. For bladder cancer, ongoing research is indicating that a PET scan may help find bladder cancer that has spread better than a CT scan or MRI alone.
Laparoscopic cystectomy. As outlined in Treatment  under Surgery, several studies are underway to find out whether laparoscopic bladder removal is as safe as the standard surgery and whether the cure rates are the same.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT may be useful to treat early stages of bladder cancer. During photodynamic therapy, a patient receives an injection of a nontoxic chemical that collects in the tumor for a few days. Then, the doctor focuses a special laser on the cancer, which changes the chemical in the tumor into a new chemical that can kill the tumor with very little harm to normal cells.
Molecular testing. Tests to identify changes to genes or proteins that could be a sign of bladder cancer may help predict a bladder cancer recurrence or predict which patients may need more aggressive treatment. DNA changes may also help predict prognosis for people with bladder cancer.
Targeted therapy . Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells while limiting damage to normal cells. Research is underway to determine how targeted therapy may be used to treat bladder cancer. For instance, a clinical trial is looking at combining targeted therapy with radiation therapy to help preserve bladder function.
New drugs and drug combinations. As described in the Treatment  section, researchers are studying new drugs and new combinations of chemotherapy.
Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find a better way of reducing symptoms and side effects of current bladder cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.
Learn more about common statistical terms used in cancer research .
Looking for More About Current Research?
If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding bladder cancer, explore these related items:
- To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now .
- Review research announced at recent scientific meetings .
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