Explore the Bladder Cancer Treatment Program


In the 1980s, Mass General Cancer Center helped pioneer a bladder-sparing technique for patients whose cancer had penetrated the bladder’s muscle wall. Our Claire & John Bertucci Center for Genitourinary Cancers still remains one of the few centers that can preserve bladders because of the high degree of collaboration among our specialists.

We treat hundreds of genitourinary cancers every year, including rare and complex cancers. You will benefit from our extensive experience in diagnosing and treating forms of bladder cancer like yours.

Innovative Approaches

The cornerstone of our approach is communication among patients, family members and medical specialists. We have pioneered bladder cancer diagnosis and treatment approaches that include:

  • Bladder-sparing techniques
  • Minimally invasive surgical procedures
  • Innovative chemotherapy approaches

Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Cancers

Correct diagnosis and staging of your cancer is critical to developing the right treatment plan. Our highly sub-specialized pathologists work exclusively with genitourinary cancers. They are familiar with genetic “tumor markers” that can help pinpoint treatment.

Our diagnostic experts are aided by the most advanced imaging technology, including nanoparticle-enhanced MRI, an imaging technology developed here that can find cancerous lymph nodes missed by biopsies. This expertise translates into faster, more precise diagnoses, providing the foundation for the most effective treatment.

Standard and Novel Medical Treatments

Your medical oncologist will determine which therapies will be most successful at treating your cancer. Our patients have access to traditional and innovative approaches that have demonstrated effectiveness against early and advanced stages of bladder cancers, as well as support programs to help cope with side effects

For appropriately selected patients, we offer novel bladder preserving strategies that combine transurethral resection, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Excellence in Surgical Care

Our surgical oncologists sub-specialize in the treatment of genitourinary cancers and are recognized worldwide for their organ-sparing techniques. Many of our patients are candidates for minimally invasive surgical procedures we helped pioneer and can even be treated as outpatients with only local anesthesia and light sedation. 

We perform a large number of these procedures annually. Studies have shown patients outcomes improve when they are treated in facilities where similar procedures are regularly performed.

Pioneering Radiation Therapies

Our experienced radiation oncology team carefully chooses precise and safe techniques, including 3-dimensional conformal radiation and intensity modulated radiation therapy.

Multidisciplinary Patient Care

New patients are generally seen within a week of referral. At your first appointment, you will meet the genitourinary cancer specialists who will be involved in your care, including:

  • Urologists and surgical oncologists experienced in the latest bladder cancer surgery approaches
  • Radiation oncologists who specialize in delivering the optimal therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
  • Medical oncologists to discuss overall prognosis and review the available treatment approaches

In addition, you may also see:

  • Pathologists specializing in urologic cancers
  • Radiologists specializing in genitourinary cancer imaging
  • Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners who specialize in cancer care
  • Oncology psychiatrists and social workers experienced in helping with the cognitive side effects of cancer and treatment, as well the emotional and spiritual side of the cancer experience
  • A nutritionist to help you with questions about diet and nutrition during treatment

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies of new drugs, new combinations of drugs or already approved drugs being studied to treat patients in new/different ways. They may include new drug doses or new ways (schedules) to give the drugs. Clinical trials are run under strict guidelines. Their purpose is to help find out whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard (current) treatment. At Mass General Cancer Center, there are several clinical trials open for the treatment of bladder cancer that use the latest in cancer treatments.

Cancer is increasingly becoming a disease in which the genetic make-up of each individual cancer drives therapy. The Center for Genitourinary Cancers also has access to clinical trials involving these targeted therapy approaches.

Find listings of our current Bladder Cancer Clinical Trials.


Patient Education & Resources

Cancer is caused by malignant (cancerous) cells that grow and multiply without control. When cancer begins in the tissues of a bladder, it is called bladder cancer.

Department of Urology

Department of Urology

Learn more about Mass General's Department of Urology.

Genitourinary Program

Genitourinary Program

Learn about the Genitourinary Program in the Dept of Radiation Oncology.

Center for Genitourinary Cancers

Center for Genitourinary Cancers

Learn more about the Center for Genitourinary Cancers.

Supportive Care

Supportive Care

We offer a variety of education and support resources to help you and your family.

Workshops & Support Groups

Workshops & Support Groups

We offer a wide range of integrative therapies, workshops and support groups.