Bladder Cancer Treatment Program

The Claire & John Bertucci Center for Genitourinary Cancers, one of the largest and most experienced centers for bladder cancer treatment in New England.
Request an Appointment Request a Remote Second Opinion

Talk to an access nurse today 877-726-5130


In the 1980s, the Massachusetts General Hospital 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. Learn more about radiation therapy

Meet the Team

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 testicular 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 

Our Bladder Cancer Team

See the complete team list treating Bladder Cancer

Patient Education

Information about Bladder Cancer

The bladder is a triangle-shaped, hollow organ that is located in the lower abdomen.  The bladder stores urine. Cancer that begins in the tissues of the bladder is called bladder cancer.

Types of bladder cancer include:

  • Transitional cell (urothelial) carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma

Bladder Cancer Diagnosis

A diagnosis of bladder cancer may be made through tests and procedures including:

  • Medical history and physical exam
  • Rectal or vaginal exam
  • Cystoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Laboratory tests of the urine
  • Imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans

Bladder Cancer Treatment

Bladder surgery is one option for treating bladder cancer. Examples include:

  • Transurethral resection: Removal of a cancerous tumor, or abnormal growth
  • Segmental cystectomy: Removal of the portion of the bladder containing a cancerous tumor
  • Radical cystectomy: Removal of the bladder along with nearby lymph nodes and nearby organs that contain cancer cells

Options for nonsurgical treatment of bladder cancer include:

  • Chemotherapy kills cancer cells through the use of intravenous (IV) or oral drugs
  • Biological therapy—e.g. Bacillus Calmette- Guérin (BCG) treatment, in which a solution is placed in the bladder to stimulate the immune system to kill the cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to kill or shrink tumors while saving healthy tissue
  • Clinical trials may provide access to new and promising therapies for bladder cancer

Learn more about Bladder Cancer

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 Massachusetts General Hospital 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

Find listings of our current Bladder Cancer Targeted Therapy Trials

The Cancer Center also offers the Lazarex-MGH Cancer Care Equity Program, which strives to promote awareness about and access to cancer clinical trials through community outreach and education, financial assistance, and patient navigation. Click here to find out more about this program.



New Patients

(those who have not previously seen a doctor within the Mass General/Partners Healthcare Network)

Step 1. Obtain a medical record number (MRN).
Call the Mass General Registration & Referral Center to register as a patient and obtain an MRN: 866-211-6588.

Step 2. Call the Cancer Center new patient appointment line: 617-726-5130.
The schedulers can assist you in making the first available appointment with the appropriate physician. To help your call go smoothly, please have ready your:

  • Full name and date of birth
  • Medical record number
  • Medical diagnosis

Existing Patients

Call the Genitourinary Center scheduling line: 617-724-5197. They will connect you with your treatment team.

Request an Appointment Request a Remote Second Opinion

Talk to an access nurse today 877-726-5130

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