Over 400,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed in the world annually. In 75% of patients, the tumor is detected at an early stage. However, in every fourth person it is detected when it is at the stage of invasive bladder cancer, after lymph node lesions are present, or after the appearance of distant metastases. The five-year survival rate of patients with metastatic cancer who undergo standard treatment does not exceed 6%, but thanks to the very latest innovative treatment methods that German doctors use today, it is possible to give patients many years of active life.
- Standard treatment – disadvantages and limitations
- Advanced and effective treatment methods for stage 4 bladder cancer
- Stage 4 bladder cancer treatment at the specialized hospitals in Germany
- Organization of treatment in Germany for patients with stage 4 bladder cancer
Standard treatment – disadvantages and limitations
Stage 4 bladder cancer can be diagnosed with the presence of one of the following conditions:
- development of distant metastases;
- development of regional metastases in the nearest lymph nodes;
- invasion of the tumor into the pelvic wall.
These circumstances make it almost impossible to cure the disease with such standard methods as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.
The standard approach to the treatment of metastatic bladder cancer involves systemic chemotherapy with two or four drugs, which can increase a person's life expectancy by several months.
When using classical therapy for treatment, which is a long experience, it is impossible to avoid such disadvantages and limitations as:
- High toxicity
- Trauma and long-term recovery after surgery
- Impossibility of a complete cure of cancer
- High cost of medical services
- Suppression of the immune system from chemotherapy and radiation
Advanced and effective treatment methods for stage 4 bladder cancer
The doctors in Germany are undoubted leaders in the application of the very latest achievements in bladder cancer treatment. The individually tailored treatment is developed and provided by highly qualified specialists, such as, oncologists, urologists, radiologists, and others.
The very latest and most effective methods of bladder cancer treatment in Germany include the following options:
Embolization of tumor vessels for the treatment of stage 4 bladder cancer
Embolization is the process of blocking a blood vessel with an embolus. Various substances that completely and permanently close the arterial lumen can be used as emboli. A small incision in the groin is sufficient to administer them. The procedure is performed under X-ray guidance. It is safe and well tolerated by patients, does not require a long recovery period, and very rarely causes complications.
The doctors in Germany are increasingly giving preference to the embolization of bladder arteries when treating stage 4 cancer. If required, this procedure can be performed emergently, in the case of a severe hemorrhage. It is minimally invasive, does not require general anesthesia, and can be performed even on patients who are weakened due to the disease.
The specialized hospitals in Germany perform super selective arterial embolization. The doctor inserts a catheter into the internal iliac artery. Then, he assesses the specifics of the blood supply and arterial outflow using a contrast agent. The doctor uses emboli to detect and block smaller vessels that feed the bladder and the tumor. As a result, the hemorrhage stops completely. This procedure is possible even in cases with a high anesthetic risk and severe hemorrhage. It has minimal health risks and does not require rehabilitation.
Chemotherapy agents can be added to the composition of the emboli. In these cases, the technique is called transarterial chemoembolization. This has an additional therapeutic effect: using chemoembolization for cancer treatment suppresses the tumor for several weeks due to the release of chemotherapy agents from microspheres. The high concentration of drugs penetrates the cancer cells, so the effect is more pronounced than when using systemic chemotherapy. At the same time, the targeted action of cytostatics contributes to fewer side effects manifesting.
Immunotherapy for stage 4 bladder cancer
Another advanced technique in the treatment of stage 4 bladder cancer is immunotherapy. German doctors use this technique quite often too.
Immunotherapy is not aimed at destroying cancer cells, but rather at stimulating immune responses against bladder cancer. The drugs block the tumor's ability to evade the attack of the immune system. The result of this treatment is long-lasting. The tumor cells are completely eliminated.
Benefits of immunotherapy:
- It only affects cancer cells, not the whole body
- It has minimal side effects and does not cause serious complications
- It can be used even on patients who are in a severe condition, at the advanced stages of bladder cancer, and when there are concomitant pathologies of the internal organs
- It provides a stable result that excludes the need for repeated courses of therapy in the future
- The treatment method destroys not only the primary tumor of the bladder, but also distant metastases
- Immunotherapy is effective even at advanced stages of cancer
The specialized hospitals in Germany provide comprehensive treatments for advanced stages of cancer, in particular, stage 4 bladder cancer. Classical medicine is complemented by an integrative approach. After the surgical removal of the bladder, the patient is treated with alternative methods. Such an approach provides the best results, with minimal health risks.
Stage 4 bladder cancer vaccines
Clinical investigations involve the use of dendritic cell-based vaccines for stage 4 bladder cancer treatment. They are effective inducers of antitumor response. These antigen-presenting cells have the unique ability to capture, process, and present tumor antigens to T lymphocytes. They also enhance the anti-tumor activity of natural killers (NK cells). Dendritic cells not only enhance the activity of other cells of the immune system, but also have a direct cytotoxic effect against the tumor.
Immunotherapy is not only effective, but also safe, which is very unusual for cancer treatments. Dendritic cells have mild and short-term side effects.
In cases of bladder cancer, vaccines which target particular antigens are used: human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and several tumor-associated antigens (TAAs). The whole tumor cells containing the antigens are used for the production of vaccines.
Stage 4 bladder cancer treatment at the specialized hospitals in Germany
Everyone knows that the health care system in Germany is one of the best in the world. The government annually allocates huge funds for programs to improve the qualifications of their doctors and medical staff, the development of medicine, the development of innovative treatment methods for various types of diseases, vaccines, and the maintenance of high quality services. Here, you can definitely count on receiving the most modern and effective treatments available today.
Germany has several specialized hospitals and doctors who are ready to offer patients with stage 4 bladder cancer, comprehensive therapy using classical and alternative treatment methods.
Organization of treatment in Germany for patients with stage 4 bladder cancer
To undergo comprehensive treatment of stage 4 cancer in Germany, you can contact Booking Health – the leader in organizing treatment for patients from all over the world.
Based on an individual approach for each patient, in this case with a diagnosis of stage 4 bladder cancer, our managers and doctors will provide qualified assistance and take care of the following important aspects in the prompt organization of your treatment in Germany:
- selection of a highly qualified hospital and direct communication with the attending physician;
- preliminary preparation of the treatment program, without repeating any previous diagnostic examinations;
- provision of a favorable cost of hospital services, without any extra charges or coefficients for foreign patients (saving you up to 50%);
- doctor’s appointment on your desired date;
- control of your medical program at all its stages;
- assistance in buying and forwarding medicines;
- communication with the hospital after your treatment is complete;
- monitoring of invoices and return of any unspent funds;
- organization of additional diagnostic examinations;
- top-class service for booking hotels, airline tickets, transfers, and interpreting services.
To get professional help planning your treatment in Germany, please leave your request on the official Booking Health website. A competent medical consultant will discuss all the medical details with you and help you to correctly prepare for your flight and treatment.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
The article was edited by medical experts, board certified doctors Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova and Dr. Sergey Pashchenko. For the treatment of the conditions referred to in the article, you must consult a doctor; the information in the article is not intended for self-medication!