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Q. How long can a person live with muscle-invasive bladder cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Arvind Guru
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 03, 2021

Hi doctor,

My father was diagnosed with muscle-invasive bladder cancer seven months back and some enlarged local nodes, and then three months back, it moved to his sacrum bone. He received four cycles of Gem (gemcitabine)/Cis (cisplatin) over the course of three months. Last month, he was scheduled for surgery but came down with COVID-19, so it was postponed to today. Yesterday his PET (positron emission tomography) scan revealed many new findings. We are still removing the bladder because of his severe symptoms, and then we will be starting immunotherapy and radiation treatments in a couple of weeks. What do you think? And how long can one expect to live with these results?

Impression: 1. Redemonstrated asymmetric thickening of the bladder dome and left lateral wall, keeping with the primary site of disease. 2. New multiple FDG-avid lung nodules, most likely representing metastasis. 3. Increased retroperitoneal and bilateral pelvic metastatic lymphadenopathy. 4. Increased extent of the sacral osseous lesion with pathologic fracture, representing metastatic disease. 5. The additional FDG uptake (radiotracer uptake) in the L1 spinous process may represent osseous metastasis. However, posttraumatic change can demonstrate a similar finding. 6. Small but FDG-avid left mediastinal lymph nodes are indeterminate, may represent metastasis. 7. Focal increased FDG uptake in the right side of the root of the penis without definite CT correlate may represent metastatic disease.

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Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have reviewed the information (attachment removed to protect patient identity) provided.

In my very limited opinion (as I have not seen the patient myself, and there can be other information that has been omitted in this query), surgery in the form of Complete Bladder removal is usually not required in Metastatic Bladder Cancer.

Even for symptom relief, minimal surgery and Radiation are usually preferable.

Regarding survival, we need to consider the performance status of the patient, to begin with. Moreover, the response to chemotherapy is also very important. In your case, the disease is progressive on first-line chemo. This makes disease control a very difficult goal to achieve.

Immunotherapy and Radiation cannot eradicate the disease completely.

So overall, I am afraid it is not a promising situation. To the best of my belief, the five-year survival is around 5 %, and Immunotherapy might brace that up by a small percentage.

Participation in a running clinical trial might be the best treatment option for him.

Still, this is a very limited opinion, do verify it with your doctor.


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