Radiation Therapy for Bladder Cancer

Contact Information

Contact UW Carbone Cancer Center for appointment scheduling, patient referrals and more information: 

(608) 262-5223

(800) 622-8922


Multidisciplinary Care

Radiation oncologists at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center work together with doctors who specialize in different medical areas to provide treatment that is individualized and well-coordinated.

Learn more about comprehensive prostate services provided by UW Health.

The UW Prostate and Genitourinary Cancer Program (UWPGCP) and the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the state's only comprehensive cancer center, take a multidisciplinary approach to treating bladder cancer.


Radiation therapy can play an important role in the management of some stages of bladder cancer. Radiation does not play a role in the treatment of superficial bladder cancer, but may be an option for muscle-invasive cancer.


While the standard treatment is a radical cystectomy (removal of the entire bladder) with or without chemotherapy, certain patients may be eligible for an approach that initially uses radiation and chemotherapy. Patients may resort to a cystectomy only if the radiation and chemotherapy has not made the tumor entirely disappear.


Radiation with chemotherapy may also be chosen for others with muscle-invasive bladder cancer who are not eligible for surgery because of other health concerns. UW Health radiation oncologists will discuss your condition and make recommendations for your care.


The best candidates for radiation therapy:

  • Have locally resected tumors
  • Have only one tumor site
  • Can tolerate chemotherapy and 35 radiation treatments
  • Must undergo rigorous follow-up after treatment

Learn about radiation oncology at the UW Carbone Cancer.


Radiation Treatment Options


External Beam Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation therapy for bladder cancer is generally given using 3D conformal radiotherapy radiation therapy (3DCRT) as well as image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) to deliver treatments that t conform to the shape of the bladder while minimizing the radiation received by other nearby organs. 


Radiation Oncology Doctors

Mark A. Ritter, MD, PhD