A Bladder Cancer Patient's Story: Bladder Removal and Construction of a New One - ACIBADEM
A Bladder Cancer Patient’s Story: Bladder Removal and Construction of a New One

A Bladder Cancer Patient’s Story: Bladder Removal and Construction of a New One

Acıbadem Department of Urology has in-depth knowledge, experience, and advanced health technologies for treating urological cancers. Acıbadem Urology Team has pioneered the adoption of novel diagnostic techniques and minimally invasive treatments for prostate, kidney, and bladder cancers alongside with a plethora of other urological disorders.

The bladder is the organ that stores urine. Bladder cancer occurs when bladder cells start to change and grow uncontrollably. Bladder cancer is among the top five most common cancer types. Bladder tumors are three times more common in men than in women. It is the fourth most common cancer in men after prostate, lung, and colon cancer. Bladder cancer may be the most challenging disease among urologic cancers as it tends to take up a rapid progressive course. An early detection is vital for patients since late diagnosis of bladder cancer increases the risk of cancer spreading throughout the body.

Treatment of Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer treatment depends on the stage of cancer. If the tumor involves the bladder’s muscular layers, the most optimal treatment is removing the bladder as a whole. It is called a radical cystectomy. Removal of the bladder is only the first part of the surgery. After removing the cancerous bladder, it is necessary to find another way to store urine and pass it out of the body.

There are two options for this; urostomy and neobladder.

  • In Urostomy, urine is collected in a special bag (a stoma bag) attached to the outside of the abdomen. Naturally, living with a bag makes significant changes in patients’ life quality because the urostomy could affect their social life.
  • Neobladder, on the other hand, is the construction of a new bladder using tissues from the patient’s bowel, which eradicates the need for a stoma bag, resulting in a normal urination for the patients. However, it is a complex surgery, and it demands high skills and experience. A neobladder reconstruction involves creating a new bladder by using a portion of the small bowel, placing it instead of the original bladder, and stitching the ureters into the top area of the neobladder. Thus, urine drains from the kidneys through the ureters into the neobladder, and patients go on urinating as usual.

In Acıbadem, as a first option, we apply neobladder reconstruction for every suitable patient. There is a limited number of centers performing neobladder reconstruction for bladder cancer patients around the world. As a consequence, many patients visit Acıbadem to receive this treatment.

Miroslav’s Story

The 49-year-old Serbian Miroslav is one of them. “About three months ago, I started to feel pain in my penis and after a few days, I noticed blood in my urine. It was a huge red alert that indicated it may be something serious. I visited a urologist in Belgrade who conducted an ultrasound examination of my bladder and identified lesions that raised the suspicion of bladder cancer. Subsequently, a biopsy was performed to confirm the diagnosis, which indeed revealed the presence of cancer. I was scared and concerned about what would happen to me,” says Miroslav.

He met with different doctors in Belgrade and Zagreb. One day, by coincidence, he came across an advertisement on Instagram announcing that Professor of Urology Mustafa Sofikerim from Acıbadem Hospital in Türkiye will come to Acıbadem Bel Medic Outpatient Clinic in Belgrade for consultation. He promptly filled out the form and scheduled an appointment to seek consultation from Professor Sofikerim. “After meeting Professor Mustafa Sofikerim in person and having a thorough discussion about my disease and treatment, I was almost positive to travel to Acıbadem Hospital in İstanbul for a treatment,” marks Miroslav.

Thus, Miroslav’s treatment journey started at Acıbadem Hospital. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor and bladder. After removal of the bladder, reconstructive surgery followed to create a neobladder using parts of the small intestine. “Miroslav came with a diagnosis of squamous cell bladder cancer. We performed radical cystectomy surgery immediately followed by neobladder reconstruction. The whole process took about 6 hours. The surgery was very successful, and the postoperative period was seamless. We will not give him any chemotherapy or radiotherapy, because for this type of tumors, the most successful treatment is radical cystectomy, and once the bladder is removed, nothing else needs to be done,” points out Professor of Urology, Mustafa Sofikerim.

10 days after the surgery Miroslav was discharged from the hospital as healthy as could be without any trace of tumor in his body. “I am happy that everything went well, and I feel excited, because I’m alive, I feel strong, I feel good. I can walk, I can eat, and everything’s fine. Thanks, everybody. Thanks, Acıbadem. I think this was a life-changing moment for me. Because my life will go on as a person without cancer,” says Miroslav.