If a bladder cancer invades the muscle wall a urologist may suggest removal of the bladder before the cancer spreads further. This is called a radical cystectomy.
A complete radical cystectomy requires removal of the bladder and nearby lymph nodes. In men it almost always involves removal of the prostate as well.
For women the surgeon usually also removes the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix and part of the vagina that is in contact with the bladder. This minimizes risk of the cancer spreading.
Removal of the bladder is a major surgery. It usually requires several days of hospital stay followed by several weeks of recovery at home before returning to normal activities.
As with any surgery, patients may have complications as a result of the operation.
Download our Bladder Cancer Australia booklet for more information