If the cancer spreads from the bladder into the adjacent tissues or into distant parts of the body it is called “metastatic bladder cancer.” The most common areas affected include regional and distant lymph nodes, bone, lung, and liver.
Treatment of metastatic bladder cancer usually involves systemic chemotherapy which is provided by an oncologist, or systemic cancer specialist. Occasionally, depending on the site of the metastasis, radiation may be used.
One of the newest specialties in medicine is “palliative care.” It is especially welcome and appropriate in cases of metastatic cancer. The purpose of palliative care is to provide supportive care of all kinds to patients suffering from serious medical conditions. Although one of its primary aims is pain relief, it also provides emotional and family and caregiver support. While similar in many respects to Hospice care, and often a part of it, palliative care makes no assumptions as to the prognosis of the patient but rather aims to provide whatever help is necessary to provide comfort to the patient. Patients and caregivers need to be aware of this specialty and request a consultation with a palliative care specialist if it is not offered.
Should I get a second opinion?
Any time a cancer patient is facing a serious, life-threatening condition, a second opinion at a major cancer center is indicated. These centers and academic departments have on their staffsmedical personnel with extensive expertise in treatment options and outcomes. They also are likely to be aware of current clinical trials of new treatment modalities and have access to them.